Glasgow launches pioneering ‘smart canal’

City’s £17m project will see sensors and software rolled out to manage drainage

In a £17m project, Glasgow is to create what it claims is Europe’s first “smart canal”.

The stretch of the Forth and Clyde canal (pictured above) that runs through Scotland’s largest city is to be equipped with “sensor and predictive weather technology”. According to Glasgow City Council, this will provide warning ahead of imminent wet weather, meaning water can be moved away from residential and business areas accordingly, and into parts of the canal where water levels have been pre-emptively lowered by up to 10cm. 

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“Advanced warning of heavy rainfall will automatically trigger a lowering of the canal water level,” the council said. “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 North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System, as it will be known, will be jointly delivered by the council, Scottish Canals, and Scottish Water. 

By using technology to enable better drainage, the council ultimately hopes to enable “massive regeneration” – including the potential construction of 3,000 new homes and other developments across a 110-hectare patch to the north of Glasgow.

Council leader councillor Susan Aitken 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.”

Sam Trendall

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