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 handle water shortage and defend whisky manufacturing.
Among the many nature-based measures are small dams within the panorama supplying the distillery, designed to seize water throughout moist intervals and to make this out there when water is scarce.
Led by PhD pupil Jessica Fennell, who has had a particular ‘Fennell Reserve’ whisky created by The Glenlivet in her honour, the mission is meant to assist forestall the closure of the distillery throughout dry intervals.
Final month’s heatwave noticed temperatures soar throughout Scotland, and such intervals are predicted to turn into extra frequent because of local weather change. Many distilleries have needed to quickly cease distilling in current summers due to water shortages, costing the trade hundreds of thousands. Throughout the dry summer season of 2018 groundwater provides to The Glenlivet distillery in Speyside decreased and didn’t replenish till the next spring.
After initially surveying the panorama to find out the place dams would greatest defend groundwater provides, the examine workforce used a mix of subject information assortment and modelling instruments to offer insights into how they operated as soon as put in.
Jessica stated: “Our outcomes discovered that the options we put in may have a small however constructive affect that would assist enhance water availability during times of water shortage and cut back flood peaks throughout excessive rainfall. Crucially, this might forestall the distillery closing throughout dry intervals which has a big price affect.
“As a result of these measures improve groundwater recharge, and groundwater contribution to streams, our analysis has additionally raised the potential for constructive implications for water temperature. That is vital as a result of distilleries require cool water and groundwater is often colder than floor water throughout summer season.
“As water temperature is anticipated to extend with local weather change, extra water can be wanted to realize the identical cooling results, and elevated groundwater circulation might assist stabilise stream temperatures in addition to enhance flows via dry summer season intervals.”
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, homeowners of The Glenlivet. Different co-authors embody 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 turn into a big problem in Scotland sooner or later, and right here we’ve proven that these nature-based options supply a value efficient, environmentally useful method to water useful resource administration that may be utilized to this economically very important sector – there can also be a profit by way of securing groundwater provides.
“The teachings discovered can even probably be utilized to different areas of the financial 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 offer 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 vital for the long-term viability of the distillery, however might additionally profit the whole Scotch Whisky trade, particularly in upland areas. We intend to proceed monitoring the impact of the measures on water availability at this web site over the long run.”