Work begins on Glasgow's groundbreaking 'smart canal'
Construction of Europe's first ever 'smart canal' scheme, which will use the 250-year-old Forth & Clyde Canal and 21st century technology to mitigate flood risk as well as enable significant regeneration, is now underway in Glasgow.
The pioneering new digital surface water drainage system will unlock 110 hectares across the north of the city for investment, regeneration and development, paving the way for more than 3,000 new homes.
The £17 million project, being delivered via a partnership of Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Scheme, will use sensor and predictive weather technology to provide early warning of wet weather before moving excess rainfall from residential and business areas into stretches of the canal where water levels have been lowered by as much as 10cm. This will create 55,000 cubic metres of extra capacity for floodwater – equivalent to 22 Olympic swimming pools.
Officially named the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, the project to create a ‘sponge city’ – a term used to describe how cities respond to surface water flooding – will see North Glasgow passively absorb, clean and use rainfall intelligently. Advanced warning of heavy rainfall will automatically trigger a lowering of the canal water level to create capacity for surface water run-off.
Before periods of heavy rain, canal water will be moved safely through a network of newly created urban spaces – from sustainable urban drainage ponds to granite channels – that absorb and manage water in a controlled way, creating space for surface water run-off.
The scheme will unlock 110 hectares across the north of the city for investment, regeneration and development, will see the Forth & Clyde Canal connected to five new sites over the next 10-15 years, including Sighthill, Hamiltonhill, Ruchill Hospital, Cowlairs and Dundashill. The capital funding for the scheme comes from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, the Green Infrastructure Fund, and Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City.
The project was launched today (31 October) by Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken, Scottish Canals’ CEO Catherine Topley and Simon Parsons from Scottish Water with the signing of a 60-year service agreement.
Aitken, who is also chair of the Glasgow City Region City Deal cabinet, said: “This is a fantastic day for Glasgow’s Canal, as we mark the introduction of cutting-edge technology that will both allow surface water in this part of the city to be managed, and allow the building of new homes and businesses on land that historically have been unfit for development.
“It is very exciting to see such smart technology in operation in Glasgow – one of very few examples in the world – and we can look forward to it playing a key role in the continued regeneration of Glasgow’s Canal and the north of the city.”
Catherine Topley, CEO at Scottish Canals, said: “By unlocking the inherent value of Glasgow’s Canal and diversifying how we use this publicly owned heritage asset, we are ensuring it continues to deliver for local people 250 years after it was first built.
”Creating a dynamic urban canal which uses smart technology to move water safely about the city will not only reduce the flood risk impact of climate change, but act as a catalyst for new investment, jobs, homes and businesses in North Glasgow as well as help to create one of the city’s top tourist destinations.”
Effective collaboration between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water has transformed this visionary concept into reality after a decade of hard work and commitment.
As part of the project, Scottish Water will vest and maintain all underground pipes that are connected to a Scottish Water system and will maintain some of the sustainable urban drainage systems (SuDS).
Simon Parsons, Scottish Water’s strategic customer services planning director, said: “Scottish Water is delighted to be involved in this unique project that enables development in Glasgow and manages flood risk using the canal.
“This will help manage the impact of climate change on the sewer network. This is the sort of development that we are wanting to see more of and are working with local authorities across Scotland under our Storm Water Strategy to deliver.”
- Welsh Water invests £15M in flood prevention scheme Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) is to invest £15M into a UK-first scheme to manage surface water in flood prone... Read More >
- Lady Susan Rice appointed Chair of Scottish Water The Scottish Government has appointed Lady Susan Rice as the new Chair of the Board of Scottish Water, succeeding Ronnie... Read More >
- Improved surface water flood maps published The Environment Agency (EA) has published improved flood maps that show a reduction in the number of people classed at... Read More >
- Time to get smart Mike Strahand, a director of the Sensors for Water Interest Group and MD at Analytical Technologies Inc., says the... Read More >
- Embracing the digital measurement revolution for wastewater Developments in digital sensing technology have opened up new possibilities for wastewater, Julian Edwards, analytical... Read More >
- Wessex Water's bustling Marketplace, three months on Neil Wilson, Wessex Water's director of risk and investment, says the company's new innovation platform is attracting... Read More >
- Developing ideas: Thames Water's innovative sewer plan Thames Water is radically re-engineering an Oxfordshire market town's sewer network to help developers prepare for... Read More >
- A glass half-full? Bringing water costs down for utility customers Mark Bullock, Balfour Beatty chief executive officer for rail and utilities, says the water sector must change its... Read More >