Skip to main content
View of a water treatment works

Drinking Water in Scotland

In Scotland we get plenty of rain, and it collects in lochs and rivers where it can be used to provide water for us to drink. In many places in Scotland, water is collected behind dams in artificial lakes called reservoirs. Much of the water we drink is collected in this way.

It is Scottish Water’s job to clean the water that collects and make it safe for us to drink and use, before cleaning the waste water that we have finished with so that it can be returned into the water cycle without harming the animals and plants in the environment.

Water Treatment

Drinking Water has to be treated before it is safe to drink. Water from a river or lake could have dirt, chemicals and bacteria in it which would be harmful to drink. To make sure water is safe to drink it must be treated at a treatment works.

Water is transferred through pipes to the treatment works where it is cleaned by first removing large objects such as leaves and grit. Smaller particles and colour are then removed by filtration, usually through sand. After the water has been treated it is then disinfected. Disinfection is where chlorine is added to remove bacteria from the water that could make us ill. Often the water is treated to make sure metal from pipes does not dissolve in the water.


After the water has been treated at the treatment works it is sometimes kept in service reservoirs (large tanks) and water towers. Underground pipes then carry the clean water into your home and to your tap.