Scottish Water has been forced to plead with customers to scale back on their use of water as the scorching summer heatwave shows no sign of coming to an end.
The move is the first time Scotland’s water quango has acknowledged the severe impact drought conditions are having on the nation’s water supply.
It is also being seen as a possible first step towards mandatory water restrictions, similar to those imposed in Northern Ireland last weekend.
Demand for water in Scotland has surged 30 per cent in recent weeks, with customers drawing an extra 140 million litres per day from reservoirs.
Pumping stations are said to be working “near to capacity” to satisfy demand.
The months of April and May were particularly dry and June ended with a temperature of 33.2C (91F) to record Scotland’s hottest day ever.
Now, with no rain on the horizon as far as the middle of this month, water chiefs have issued a public appeal to cut down on the use of dwindling supplies.
The “simple, practical steps” recommend taking showers instead of baths, using a watering can rather than a hose to water plants and using a bucket to wash the car.
People are also being asked to turn off taps when brushing their teeth and to use washing machines only when they are fully loaded.
A dripping tap loses 5,500 litres a year. While taking a bath uses 80 litres, a short shower consumes just a third of that.
Peter Farrer, Scottish Water’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “Water usage levels during the current hot summer weather, particularly during peak times, such as morning and early evening, mean we are working around the clock to get water around the system quickly enough.
“Scotland’s public water supply is the lifeblood of the country, for household and business customers. We usually supply more than 1.3 billion litres a day to customers.
“We have a strong and resilient distribution network to keep our customers supplied but we’re asking everyone to play their part in helping us as Scotland enjoys its hottest and driest summer in many years.
“By encouraging simple but important changes to how people use water over the coming days and weeks of dry, warm weather, this will make a big difference to the flow of water around the network and protect supplies.”
A hosepipe ban was imposed in Northern Ireland last Friday and has already led to rows.
Councils and businesses are exempt from the restrictions and members of the public have been angry at park workers using hoses to water flower beds.
Businesses here have been advised to contact their “licensed provider” for advice.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:“Much of Scotland has been enjoying a period of warm and dry weather and, with this forecast to continue, now is a good time for all of us to take action where we can to ensure that we maintain the network’s stocks of water.
“Scottish Water is managing current levels of water usage closely, and I encourage people everywhere, whether using water at home, or in their business, to work with Scottish Water and follow their helpful advice and suggestions to use water wisely.
“This will allow the network to operate as normal, supporting all our water needs everywhere.”