Glasgow, United Kingdom
City population: 582475
Duration: 2008 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: unknown
Type of area: Central Business District / City Centre
Last updated: October 2021

A number of studies were carried out since 1984 to determine a suitable flood prevention scheme for the White Cart Water and its tributary to provide protection up to the 1 in 200 years event (corresponding to protection up to 1 in 100 years event by 2050s, according to considered climate change projections). In 2002 the development of the scheme began with the help of consulting engineers. The resulting White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme, the largest flood protection scheme in Scotland, was published in November 2004 and approved by the Scottish Government in 2006 (Ref 1). Phases 1 and 2 of the White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme were completed by late 2011 as part of Glasgow City Council's strategy, working with other key stakeholders, to reduce flood risk to residents and businesses in the south side of Glasgow. In 2017, Glasgow City Council secured funding to enable the completion of the third and final phase of the scheme. This phase involves the construction of 9 sections of flood defence - a combination of flood defence walls and embankments which will provide direct flood defence along sections of both the White Cart Water and Auldhouse Burn. Through 2017 the project team has been finalising the design and undertaking surveys etc. The project is currently ongoing (Ref 3).

Flood water storage
Source: WhiteCart water flood prevention project. Accessed on 31st July, 2020


Nature-based solution

  • Blue infrastructure
  • Rivers/streams/canals/estuaries
  • Green areas for water management
  • Sustainable urban drainage systems

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Water management (SDG 6)
  • Flood protection
  • Stormwater and rainfall management and storage
  • Economic development and employment (SDG 8)
  • Economic development: service sectors
  • Employment/job creation


Creation of semi-natural blue areas, Improved governance of green or blue areas, Management of rivers and other blue areas

Project objectives

The general goal of the scheme was to mitigate the flooding of residential and business properties in several areas of suburban Glasgow by the White Cart Water and two areas of suburban Glasgow by the Auldhouse Burn (White Cart Water tributary). The scheme also aimed at the construction of flood attenuation areas upstream of Glasgow and to protect 1,750 properties in the south of the city from this flooding risk. (Ref 1, 4)

Implementation activities

The plan involved the construction of three flood storage areas upstream the city to temporarily hold back the bulk of floodwater generated by extreme rainfall, and control the release of water passing downstream through the city to an acceptable level. In all, 33 sites were considered for the construction of the storage reservoirs with dams up to sixteen metres in height; these sites were evaluated for size, topography, geotechnical suitability and the associated environmental impacts. Several of the sites considered were discarded due to significant environmental and geotechnical concerns. Together with the three finally constructed flood storage areas have the capability to hold back over 2.6 million cubic metres of floodwater and reduce peak river flows by up to 45%. Central to the successful operation of the storage areas was the installation of the world’s largest Hydro-Brake flow control devices into the three dams at each storage area (Ref 1). Works associated with phase 1 commenced in March 2008. The Blackhouse and Kirkland Bridge storage areas were completed in the autumn of 2010. Works associated with Contract 2 commenced in January 2009 and were substantially complete in October 2011. The third phase is currently ongoing (Ref 3, 4).

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Implement sustainable urban drainage infrastructure (e.g. to make space for water)
  • Renaturalization of rivers and other water bodies

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups


Management set-up

  • Government-led

Type of initiating organisation

  • National government
  • Regional government
  • Local government/municipality

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Co-planning
  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)
  • Citizen monitoring and review

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The development of engineering designs for the scheme were complemented by the creation of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) comprising stakeholders from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Water, local angling/fisheries groups and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds as well as environmental professionals from the three local authorities involved (Glasgow City Council, East Renfrewshire Council and South Lanarkshire Council). The work of the EWG helped to minimise the environmental impact of the scheme, and, where possible, to enhance the natural environment, thus assisting in developing a sustainable flood prevention scheme. (Ref 1)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? Unknown
... a national policy or strategy? Yes (Flood Prevention Act (Scotland) Act 1961 (Ref 1))
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (White Cart Water Flood Prevention scheme (Ref 1))


Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public national budget
  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Earmarked public budget
  • Direct funding or subsidy

Non-financial contribution


Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Climate, energy and emissions
  • Strengthened capacity to address climate hazards/natural disasters
  • Water management and blue areas
  • Increased protection against flooding
  • Improved stormwater management
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Increase of jobs
  • Reduce financial cost for urban management

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Safety
  • Increased perception of safety
  • Education
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records