I’ll be dammed … engineers hold back the River Kelvin by copying what beavers do

By Ellen Thomson at

The structure on the River Kelvin has been in place for several weeks – but engineers have just revealed the inspiration that lies behind it.

A makeshift dam has taken shape near to the Old Flint Mill on the River Kelvin Walkway.

And Scottish Water’s contractors have turned to the ultimate aquatic engineers – beavers – to overcome the elements.

Dam on the river Kelvin

The dam has been placed along the embankment near to the Old Flint Mill

The structure is providing protection as engineers go about the latest phase of a multi-million pound project to help improve the environment and water quality on the river.

Teams are busy stabilising the river bank and constructing a new waste water infrastructure.

Paul Milligan, amey Black and Veatch (aBV) communication manager, said: “Our site team has been faced with heavy rainfall over the past few months and the high river level has made working conditions pretty challenging.

“By creating a false embankment, the dam helps divert the water away from the river bank and means that the engineers can go about their work and keep the river flowing.

“It creates much safer working conditions and it’s been quite a talking-point for the Kelvin Walkway users interested in the work that’s going on here.”

Dam on the River Kelvin

Working conditions have been challenging after the recent heavy rainfall

The £15m environmental project in the west end is being delivered by Scottish Water’s alliance partner amey Black and Veatch (aBV) and involves the installation of new and improved waste water infrastructure at 11 separate locations along the River Kelvin.

The new infrastructure will help prevent items which are wrongly flushed down the toilet.

Items like rags, baby wipes, plastic cotton buds will be prevented from entering the River Kelvin during severe storm events.

The structures will also reduce the frequency and volume of waste water spillages in storm conditions.


Watch: How beavers inspired engineers on the River Kelvin. Video credit: Scottish Water/ Lauren Allan

More project information can be found at www.scottishwater.co.uk/riverkelvin