With extreme weather events including longer, hotter summers and flooding becoming the norm as the global climate crisis heats up, plans are being mapped out to mitigate threats to Scotland's natural resources.

Scottish Water have launched a blueprint to help them continue to deliver the country's public water services and help lessen their impact on climate breakdown.

Included in the 25-year strategic plan, Our Future Together, is their commitment to maintaining their high standards, reducing their carbon footprint and upgrading their existing infrastructure.

They readily admit in the plan that they will be challenged by the impact of the changing climate yet are committed to adapting to their customers' and environmental needs.

Among the undertakings will be a modernisation of existing pipelines, facilities and sewer networks, many of which are no longer, or soon won't be, fit for purpose.

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This will involve significant investment which could drive up costs for customers but the plan includes a promise to limit growth through investments.

They pledge to increase the reliability and resilience of Scotland's water service and removing any traces of lead from the existing water supply by 2045.

Preparing for future droughts will include reducing the amount of water taken from the natural environment through reduced leakage, improved operational efficiency and encouraging customers to use water wisely during risk periods.

Ensuring that drinking water is of sufficient quality is a growing challenge due to the loch and river sources being rich in organic matter, bacteria and algae, which increase with warmer weather. More chemicals and additional treatment stages are required but Scottish Water say they will work local land owners, communities, NGOs and other stakeholders to promote land restoration and catchment enhancement to manage the quality of our source waters.

A "transformational" approach is required when it comes to waste water treatment as population increases and climate breakdown increase the pressure on services.

Many of Scottish Water's waste water treatment works are close to capacity and the processes used to treat water are carbon and energy intensive.

Scottish Water are developing a "route map" this year so they can reach net zero emissions five years before Scotland's target of 2045.

Already the company have reduced their operational carbon footprint by 41% since 2006. This will include increasing their own and hosted renewable energy generation from 200% to 300% by 2030; investing in new technology to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from their processes, fleet and buildings and developing a new ‘circular economy’ waste water recycling and recovery concept works that will convert sewage into energy and recover nutrients and bio-resources; and build partnerships to maximise the opportunity for recovering heat from sewers.

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Douglas Millican, chief executive of Scottish Water said: "Scotland's water is one of our most precious natural resources. But changes to the climate will increasingly affect the water cycle and our management of it to keep customers supplied at their taps. It also impacts the handling and treatment of waste water before we return it safely to the environment.

"We must take steps now - but also plan to to the mid-century and beyond - to replace and upgrade our infrastructure across Scotland. By doing this we will safeguard and enhance our services at the same time as responding to climate change - whether hotter, drier summers or more frequent intense storms.

"We're doing more than just planning for services here in Scotland. We're committing to playing our part in ensuring we have a planet fir for future generations to inhabit, by reducing our emission t net zero, and going beyond that thereafter.

"Customers are at the heart of this plan; we've consulted, engaged and listened to more than 25,000 people to capture a full range of public views and priorities."

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, said: “With the scale of the environmental challenge facing humanity driving a real urgency to act, we’re delighted to be working so closely with Scottish Water. The 25-year strategic plan is both ambitious in its aspirations for systemic change and recognises the realism of continuing to prioritise local environmental excellence. “