Water Abstraction Deadline Extended to 31 January

Farmers urged to complete their forms to avoid breaches

NFU Scotland is reminding all those who hold licences for water abstraction of the need to submit their annual returns – even if no water has been abstracted in the past year.

All holders of licences to abstract water  - whether for irrigation, hydroelectric generation or other purposes - are required to provide an annual data return to SEPA that shows the daily volumes of water that have been abstracted from each abstraction point. This includes ‘nil returns’ where no water has been abstracted.

The deadline for returns is generally 31 December each year but due to the poor response this season, that has been extended by SEPA to 31 January 2014.

There is a reminder to licence holders that failure to return the appropriate form can be deemed a breach of the licence conditions and of cross-compliance. That is something NFU Scotland would urge its members to avoid and is encouraging those with abstraction forms outstanding to get them in by the new date.

NFU Scotland Deputy Director of Policy, Andrew Bauer said:
“Submitting an annual abstraction return is one of these tasks that can get pushed to the back of the mind of licence holders, particularly in a year when no water may have been abstracted.

“SEPA has informed us that they have not received the expected volume of data returns for 2013. To encourage responses, they have extended the deadline to 31 January 2014, but thereafter may report to Scottish Government those who have failed to provide a return.

“Although cross-compliance issues are involved, NFU Scotland will be urging SEPA and Scottish Government to take a pragmatic view of any business that forgets to submit the appropriate form.  However, the best way to address the issue is for licence holders to make sure their annual returns are in by the January 31 deadline.” 

Notes to Editors

  • All members with water abstraction licences – even those who did not abstract in 2013 – are urged to complete and return WAT-FORM-21 to SEPA before 31 January. The form can be completed and returned in one of the following two ways:

1.    Completed and posted to the SEPA address listed on the licence
2.    Completed and e-mailed to


Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 9/14

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