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Forth & Clyde Canal – Water Loss

The SFCA has been engaging with Scottish Canals regarding significant loss of water along stretches of the Forth & Clyde canal which, in some areas is catastrophically low.  The loss of water is due to an ongoing water supply incident which appears to be due to a potential blockage of the Monkland Pipeline which is the main source of water for the Forth & Clyde Canal.  This main water source, which provides 70% of the water supply required by the canal, is managed by a third party organisation and investigations are underway to identify and address the issue as a matter of urgency. Scottish Canals are already engaged with SEPA to identify emergency water supplies with a view to pumping water for alternative sources into the canal to mitigate the falling water levels and minimise the environmental impact and health and safety risks.  This may however taken time due to prolonged period without rainfall which has caused many of the sources which would normally be consider to already be at, or very close too, historically low levels for this time of the year.


Scottish Canals have emergency procedures for this type of event and have acted very quickly in taking all measures possible to mitigate and stem the water loss and to address the environmental impact.  They have engaged AEPM, one of Europe’s leading aquatic and environmental consultancy companies to undertake fish rescues across the Forth & Clyde Canal.  The contract covers the area from Bowling on the Clyde to the Kelpies on the River Carron on and ‘as required’ basis.  It should be stressed that not all of the canal is affected and Scottish Canals staff are monitoring fish stocks in areas of low water.  APEM, who are one of Scottish Canals framework engineering contractors have experience of conducting fish rescues and surveys on the Forth & Clyde Canal and have been engaged to cover every eventuality. They have already started their work, focussing their efforts on the worst affected areas in Glasgow and Falkirk.  Any rescued fish will be transferred under licence to the summit pound of the Forth & Clyde Canal which is unlikely to be affected by the incident.  Anglers and members of the public who spot fish in distress or stranded in dewatered stretches of the canal should report the following information by email to ‘’ so that it can be passed on the Scottish Canals or direct to APEM.  For Health and Safety reasons, under no circumstances should individuals attempt to enter the canal in order to affect fish rescues themselves.  The canal bed has large deposits of deep silt in some areas with hidden unknown objects, both of which could represent significant risk to life. 


Scottish Canals will be posting regular updates on their website and social media platforms and keep the SFCA updated.  We will share everything we know as soon as we receive details. Here is the link to the most recent Scottish Canals update on their website:


While it will understandably be well down the priority list for Scottish Canals while their staff deal with the ongoing incident, the SFCA have already asked for details of their plan for the restoration of fish stocks following resolution of the incident.   More information will again be published as soon as it is received.

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