Ambitious new plans to improve the quality of Scottish waterways have been unveiled by the country's environment watchdog.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) wants to boost the proportion of the country's water bodies reaching good status by a third - from 63 per cent to 97 per cent by 2027.
Campbell Gemmell, SEPA chief executive, said: "SEPA and its predecessor organisations have driven major improvements in Scotland's water quality over the past few decades.
"The fact that Scotland's water is already amongst the best in Europe is something to be celebrated, as is the number of water bodies already of good or better status.
"The task now is to build on this and meet our target of 97 per cent of water bodies achieving good or better status by 2027.
"Sustainable management of the water environment is vital for our economy and our quality of life. It is also important in helping us adapt to the impacts of climate change."
The first river basin management plans submitted to the government last Tuesday (November 17) set out how SEPA and other responsible authorities and public bodies will make the improvements.
SEPA says a healthy water environment is about more than just how clean the water is, but also about the impact of human activity on the quantity of water, the natural form of beds, banks and shores and also the impact of non-native species on the water environment.
"A wide range of stakeholders worked with SEPA to develop these plans, including business representatives, land managers, voluntary organisations and individuals with an interest in the water environment, and their feedback has been a crucial part of this work," said Mr Gemmell.
"The resulting plans contain ambitious but realistic targets that we must strive to meet to ensure we can all continue to enjoy the benefits of a healthy and sustainable water environment."
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