Glasgow City Council has announced plans to implement a digital surface water drainage system on the 250-year-old Forth & Clyde Canal, creating Europe’s first ever ‘smart canal’ scheme.
The £17m project – a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water – will see North Glasgow absorb, clean and use rainfall intelligently.
Sensor and predictive weather technology will provide early warning of wet weather, allowing excess rainfall to be moved from residential and business areas into stretches of the canal where water levels have been pre-emptively lowered by as much as 10cm. This will create 55,000 cubic metres of extra capacity for floodwater – equivalent to 22 Olympic swimming pools.
Before periods of heavy rain, canal water will be automatically 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 also unlock 110 hectares across the north of the city for investment, regeneration and development, paving the way for more than 3,000 new homes.
“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,” said Catherine Topley, chief executive of Scottish Canals. “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.”