The North Glasgow Integrated Water Management System (NGIWMS) concept outlines the creation of a pioneering drainage system, using a scheduled ancient monument and modern technology, to unlock regeneration across Scotland’s Central belt. Using exemplar sustainable drainage principles, the concept will provide flood risk reduction, water quality management and habitat improvement for local communities.

With sewer networks reaching design capacity across North Glasgow, fresh ideas for surface water management were needed to unlock future development potential and aid regeneration. Working with Scottish Canals, Glasgow City Council and Scottish Water, AECOM developed the NGIWMS concept in 2013 to tackle this challenge. Incorporating the Forth and Clyde Canal, a scheduled ancient monument, into a sustainable surface water drainage tool, we are re-thinking the way canals contribute to water management.

Using meteorological forecasting data and sensors to enable real-time operational management, the concept will make the canal an intelligent water management system proactively providing surface water storage when required. By providing a surface water conveyance route using existing infrastructure and reducing surface water management burdens from developers, the NGIWMS is supporting the development and regeneration of 260ha of land at a much lower cost compared to traditional engineered solutions. For example, 100mm of canal storage equates to a traditional onsite drainage infrastructure cost of ~£10million.

The concept isn’t just limited to the canal system – it includes a number of opportunities for developing approaches to water sensitive urban design in surrounding developments, as well as active water quality monitoring to ensure the canal environment is protected.

The NGIWMS concept is demonstrating how canals can contribute to meeting the needs of the 21st century and beyond, whilst also developing technologies that can be applicable to other water management challenges.