Europe’s first ever ‘smart canal’ underway in Glasgow

Written by Michelle Rodger

Construction of Europe’s first ‘smart canal’  is underway in Glasgow.

The pioneering ‘digital surface water drainage system’ aims to 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 £17m project will use the 250-year-old Forth & Clyde Canal and modern technology to mitigate flood risk as well as enable regeneration.

Delivered through a partnership between Glasgow City Council, Scottish Canals and Scottish Water under the umbrella of the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership, the project will use sensor and predictive weather technology.

It will 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. This will create 55,000 cubic metres of extra capacity for floodwater.

Known as the North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, the project to create a ‘sponge city’ – the 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 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.

Funding for the scheme comes from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, the Green Infrastructure Fund, and Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City.

Photograph shows Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitken, Scottish Canals chief executive Catherine Topley, and Simon Parsons, strategic customer services planning director at Scottish Water.


About the author

Michelle Rodger

Michelle is a former national newspaper journalist who co-founded an award-winning IT business before launching Tartan Cat Communications. A social media and crowdfunding expert she manages media and communications for Business for Scotland.

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