A fusion of 18th century civil engineering and 21st century technology has won the award for ‘Greatest Contribution to Scotland’ at the Scottish Civil Engineering Awards. The North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System - also known as Glasgow’s smart canal - is an innovative £17m project that will reduce flooding and open up around 111 hectares of land in North Glasgow that can now be used to build new homes and businesses to help regenerate that area of the city.

How will the smart canal work?

Using predictive weather technology, when there are early warnings of wet weather, the water levels in the canal will be automatically lowered by up to 10cm. The canal water will be moved into drainage ponds and granite channels where it will be absorbed and managed thus creating space for the run-off water from the rain. This will create enough space in the canal for around 55,000 cubic metres of run-off water from the land (the equivalent of 22 Olympic-sized swimming pools) which would otherwise have nowhere to go.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, 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 has 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."

The UK canal system and flooding

While Glasgow’s smart canal is the first to combine technology with purpose-built drainage systems in order to protect an urban area, technology is already in use to manage water levels in canals across the country. The Canal & River Trust has 600 monitoring stations placed at strategic points across the UK. When water levels rise, the system automatically operates the pumps and sluices around the locks to control them and ensure that the water in our canals is always at the correct level for boats to use.

Practical measures of flood prevention for your business

Protecting your business from the effects of flooding means making it as resilient as possible against the worst effects. You can install removable barriers that seal doors and windows, as well as air bricks, toilets and drains. You can also install non-return valves on drains and pipes so flood water can only flow away from your building.

Other protective measures include raising electrical sockets and control circuits and panels so they’re above the likely waterline. Using flood-resistant materials as part of your building’s construction is also a good measure to take in order to reduce repair costs after a flood has occurred.

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