Integrating Surface Water Management Planning & Green Infrastructure

Septembers blog has been written by Gaye Makay, Senior Flood Risk Manager with Glasgow City Council and Pauline Fletcher, Community Initiatives Manager at Southside Housing Association looking at Integrated surfance water management within Glasgow. 

The name Glasgow was first recorded in the year 1116 and it is thought to mean green basin or green valley, ‘Glas’ meaning green and ‘Cau’ a hollow.

If our ancestors were to visit the city today, they would see a very different landscape, which is predominantly urbanised, with only pockets of green areas still existing. An impact of this urbanised landscape is that many of the watercourses and drainage networks in Glasgow can now be found below ground in pipes and channels, which have only limited capacity. Possible changes in our weather, due to climate change, means it is time for us to come up with a new plan on how rain is managed.

Surface Water Management Plans (SWMPs) have been prepared in a number of catchments across the city, developed to identify the most appropriate and cost-effective way of managing surface water flooding. The plans have been formed in line with the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnerships (MGSDP) Vision. The MGSDP 2060 Vision is to transform how the city region thinks about and manages rainfall to end uncontrolled flooding and improve water quality. The vision will be realised through partnership working which will be shaped by the eight Guiding Principles, as described in the adjacent diagram.

One of the first of these projects to be progressed to construction phase, is in the Greater Easterhouse area; this is being delivered based upon the outcomes of the Cardowan SWMP and the Greater Easterhouse Integrated Green Infrastructure (IGI) Strategy. The project is part funded by City Deal and the SNH administered ERDF Green Infrastructure Fund. By combining the Greater Easterhouse IGI Strategy, with the SWMP, this facilitated an integrated approach to the delivery sustainable flood management solutions and will provide green-blue corridor connections to the Seven Lochs Wetland Area.

Glasgow City Council carried out a series of consultation events to provide the public with the opportunity to shape the proposals and share their ideas on this new green infrastructure. The design has evolved based upon this feedback and involves the creation of new surface water management features, including daylighted water courses, swales and detention basins, linked to wider improvements to access, landscape and habitats.

Another project, this time on the south west side of the city, involves the creation of two new urban parks. Glasgow City Council, as part of their Surface Water Management Plan for Hillington and Cardonald are proposing to introduce sustainable drainage measures at Moss Heights (known as Halfway Community Park) and Queensland Court and Gardens. At Halfway Community Park this involves integrating drainage interventions, along with investment in the Park by Southside Housing Association to enhance underused open space. The Park project is being part funded by City Deal, the ERDF Green Infrastructure Fund, ENV 2 Funds, EB Scotland, Glasgow Tree Lover’s Society and Southside Housing Association.


This project will involve retrofitting surface water management measures within the upper catchment, within an area of underused greenspace adjacent to the Moss Heights flats. This will reduce flood risk downstream by storing runoff and releasing it at a controlled rate, thereby creating capacity in the combined sewer and reducing flood risk. Multiple benefits will be achieved through the integration of drainage interventions with landscape design for the new Park, optimising opportunities to enhance greenspace and providing wider place making benefits to support regeneration. Further information can be found here.