Residents have raised concerns after seeing a reservoir drained of water.

Munnoch Reservoir, on the B780 Ardrossan to Dalry Road, has had its water removed for ‘operational reasons’.

Archie Burleigh, who often works near the reservoir, said: “There is a huge colony of fresh water Swan Mussels that is being decimated.

“There is also an issue with nesting sites for the local bird population.

“The water birds such as ducks, geese and swans need the reservoir at its normal levels so that the reeds that grow in the shallow perimeter area are established for cover, protection of their nests from predators like foxes an badgers that would not try to swim to islet nests.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said the publicly-owned company takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.

They said: “We drained the reservoir for operational reasons.

“We worked with our ecologist to manage the environment while the level was lowered.

“We also took ecological advice regarding bird nesting and the draining of the reservoir was carried out ahead of the bird nesting season to minimise the impact on the birds’ natural habitat.”

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) are currently involved in discussions with Scottish Water regarding a project at Munnoch Reservoir and the removal of the impoundment dam.

A SEPA spokesperson said: “SEPA is currently involved in discussions with Scottish Water regarding a project which will involve partial draw down of Munnoch Reservoir and then removal of the impoundment dam.”

An impoundment dam is a structure that can raise the water level of a water body above its natural level.

The SEPA spokesperson said: “We are currently waiting for the final details of the project which will include an ecology report, which will be carefully considered by specialist ecology staff within SEPA.”

Andy Christie, co-founder and trustee of Hessilhead Wildlife Rescue Centre in Beith, said similar incidents have occurred in the past.

He told the Herald: “The local birds will have had a feast when the water was drained.

“But the swan mussels have evolved.

“They will dry out and die off but there should be enough spawn to re-colonise.

As for the birds, Mr Christie said: “If any nest or eggs, are found then the incubator at Hessilhead could be used to rear them and people can get in touch with us.”

You can contact Hessilhead on 01505 502 415.