Scottish distilleries and water resources

Location: Scotland                                                                                 Client: Multiple Distilleries


The market for Scottish whisky is growing, with existing distilleries expanding production and many new distilleries being developed to meet demand. Water is a key resource for distilleries and is used in both the distilling process and for cooling.

Identifying sources of water to support distillery development and expansion whilst meeting crucial environmental regulations can be a significant challenge, something which is likely to be exacerbated by climate change. As well as water quantity, there are also challenges with respect to water quality (e.g. discharge of warm cooling water to a river) and sustainable engineering design to harvest the water.


We have successfully assisted numerous existing and new distilleries in developing water solutions. We have been fortunate to work with Diageo, Gordon and McPhail, and Glenfiddich, Inchdairnie, Borders, Glendronach, Torabhaig and Ardross Distilleries, to name but a few. While the solution varies by site, we have undertaken:

  • Water resources assessments, both for surface water and groundwater, including desk-based assessments and site investigations
  • Hydrometric monitoring, to better quantify water amounts. This includes stream gauging and groundwater pump tests
  • Dialogue with the environment authorities (e.g. SEPA and NatureScot) to ensure that the appropriate environmental standards are met at an early stage
  • Water quality modelling, including thermal modelling and monte carlo analysis
  • Regulatory submissions such as CAR licensing
  • Detailed design of abstractions and discharges


By fully understanding hydrological and regulatory processes and their challenges, we have been able to provide successful environmentally based water solutions for many distilleries.

Want to know more?

For more information about these projects please contact David Cameron.

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