A dam effective dram? Measures deal with water shortage at Speyside distillery

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Glenlivet facility

Researchers from the College of Aberdeen and James Hutton Institute have labored with The Glenlivet distillery to introduce environmentally sustainable options at Chivas Brothers’ Speyside distillery to deal with water shortage and shield whisky manufacturing.

Among the many “nature-based measures” are small dams within the panorama supplying the distillery, designed to seize water throughout moist durations and to make this obtainable when water is scarce.

Led by PhD scholar Jessica Fennell, who has had a particular ‘Fennell Reserve’ whisky created by The Glenlivet in her honour, the challenge is meant to assist forestall the closure of the distillery throughout dry durations.

Final month’s heatwave noticed temperatures soar throughout Scotland, and such durations are predicted to develop into extra frequent because of local weather change. Many distilleries have needed to quickly cease distilling in latest summers due to water shortages, costing the business thousands and thousands. Throughout the dry summer time of 2018 groundwater provides to The Glenlivet distillery decreased and didn’t replenish till the next spring.

After initially surveying the panorama to find out the place dams would greatest shield groundwater provides, the examine group used a mixture of subject information assortment and modelling instruments to supply insights into how they operated as soon as put in.

Jessica stated: “Our outcomes discovered that the options we put in can have a small however constructive affect that might assist improve water availability during times of water shortage and cut back flood peaks throughout excessive rainfall. Crucially, this might forestall the distillery closing throughout dry durations which has a big value affect.

“As a result of these measures improve groundwater recharge, and groundwater contribution to streams, our analysis has additionally raised the opportunity of constructive implications for water temperature. That is essential as a result of distilleries require cool water and groundwater is usually colder than floor water throughout summer time.

“As water temperature is predicted to extend with local weather change, extra water will likely be wanted to realize the identical cooling results, and elevated groundwater move may assist stabilise stream temperatures in addition to improve flows by dry summer time durations.”

Dr Josie Geris, from the College’s Faculty of Geosciences, supervised Jessica and is a co-author of the examine, which was funded by NERC and Chivas Brothers, house owners of The Glenlivet. Different co-authors embrace Dr Mark Wilkinson from the James Hutton Institute and Dr Ronald Daalmans, Environmental Sustainability Supervisor at Chivas Brothers. Their findings have been printed within the Worldwide Journal for River Basin Administration.

Dr Geris commented: “Water shortage could develop into a big problem in Scotland sooner or later, and right here we now have proven that these nature-based options provide a price efficient, environmentally helpful strategy to water useful resource administration that may be utilized to this economically very important sector – there may additionally be a profit by way of securing groundwater provides.

“The teachings discovered may also doubtlessly be utilized to different areas of the economic system that depend on personal water provide and produce different potential advantages, for instance in flood administration, enhancements to biodiversity and water high quality, the restoration of upland habitats, and carbon storage.”

Dr Daalmans added: “Our goal is to make sure all our distilleries function inside the native capability of their catchment to supply water, notably throughout low flows. This analysis has indicated that the land inside the catchment might be used to assist mitigate the impacts of local weather change on water availability.

“That is essential for the long-term viability of the distillery, however may additionally profit your complete Scotch Whisky business, particularly in upland areas. We intend to proceed monitoring the impact of the measures on water availability at this website over the long run.”



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