SCOTLAND’s largest flood prevention scheme was officially opened this week in an attempt to protect hundereds of homes and businesses in the southside.
Councillor Gordon Matheson was joined in Glasgow by children from Battlefield primary to unveil the plaque for the new £53 million White Cart Water flood prevention scheme.
The scheme is a result of an estimate that flood damage could cost more than £100 million worth of damage to 1,750 homes and businesses along the river.
Despite normally being a shallow river, White Cart Water often falls victim to flash flooding and as little as twelve hours of rain can cause water levels to rise by six metres with the potential to turn the river into a raging torrent.
In the last century, there have been more than 20 significant floods caused by relatively minor storms, one of the most memorable being in Hogamanay 1984 when 500 homes in Battlefield and Langside were inundated and millions of pounds of damage caused.
Several more floods followed and in 1999, families living in Cathcart and Langside suffered thousands of pounds of damage when the water reached waist height in their homes.
As flood insurance began to be declined for many properties and businesses across the area, the prospect that residents might not be able to sell properties or that businesses may be unsustainable grew, establishing a need for action.
Councillor Matheson said: “Today we can say that people living on or near this river do not have to worry that heavy rains will cause havoc and flooding to their homes and businesses, they will be protected.
“I can confirm that we will now be able to give the 1,710 homes and 45 businesses that have been under constant threat of flooding a letter of comfort to their insurance companies to allow them to either get or reduce their properties insurance premiums”.
A total of three flood storage areas upstream of the city will hold back the bulk of floodwater (a massive 572 million gallons) generated by extreme rainfall and control the release of water downstream.
More than five miles of flood defences now flank the river through the city, from the north end of Linn Park in Cathcart to Pollokshaws, through Pollok Park and in Pollok near the Auldhouse Burn.
Low walls and embankments, will also be constructed in selected parts of the river corridor.