White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme

White Cart Water FPS Home > History


For more than a century the White Cart Water inflicted serious flooding on homes and other properties on the south side of Glasgow. This shallow, fast flowing river is prone to flash flooding and only 12 hours of rain can raise water levels by 6 metres. More than 20 significant floods have taken place since 1908 and in 1984 over 500 homes were inundated.

Flood defences along the White Cart Water corridor were piecemeal and isolated. Major investment was required to protect properties not only from current flood risks but also from more frequent inundations expected as a result of global climate change.

The threat of repeated flooding also presents major insurance difficulties for householders, businesses and the local economy. At the end of 2002 the insurance industry withdrew its guarantee of affordable flood insurance in high-risk areas. The industry confirmed it would have to consider charging higher insurance premiums or even refusing flood cover altogether. This could result in property values being greatly reduced.


In 2006, the White Cart Water Flood Prevention Scheme was confirmed by the Scottish Ministers. Between 2008 and 2011 the first two phases of the scheme were complete. Phase 1 resulted in the formation of three large flood storage areas in the headwaters of the rivers White Cart, Earn Water and Kittoch Water. These remain empty most of the time and retain flood water during heavy rainfall significantly reducing the maximum flow through Glasgow. Phase 2 involved the construction of flood defence walls and surface water pumping stations in those areas with highest flood risk.

The completed Phase 1 and 2 flood defence works have already avoided flood damage to properties since 2011. In November 2011, it is estimated that over 200 properties would have been affected if the flood defences had not been in place.

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