A HISTORIC aqueduct which provides the bulk of Edinburgh’s water has been given a £2.6 million upgrade to ensure the future supplies.
The Talla Aqueduct, which was built between 1895 and 1905, runs for 45km and takes water from the Talla and Fruid reservoirs in the Scottish Borders to Glencorse Water Treatment Works, which opened in 2012, where it is then delivered to 450,000 households in Edinburgh and Midlothian.
For most of its length the aqueduct runs as a tunnel, split by several bridges and siphons, and work was started to upgrade the historic route after inspections found areas in need of refurbishment.
The upgrade involves repairs to bridges and some structural repairs to the aqueduct, as well as the installation of new valves and flooring in its chambers.
Project Manager Simon Renton said: “Visual inspections of the tunnel and its associated chambers in recent years had identified the need to carry out some work to refurbish parts of the tunnel, which stands at around 1.8m wide and 2.2m in height, to ensure it could continue to serve the people of Edinburgh well into the future.
“The aqueduct and its function was maintained during the works to ensure continuous uninterrupted raw water supply to Glencorse Water Treatment Works.” The work, mainly carried out in rural areas using rarely accessed tunnels, took ten months to complete.
Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s community team manager for Edinburgh and the Lothians, said: “Drinking water in Edinburgh is treated to the highest standard at the £130m Glencorse Water Treatment Works, which supplies drinking water to hundreds of thousands of customers across Edinburgh and parts of Midlothian.
“But before the water reaches Glencorse, it runs through the Talla Aqueduct which was created between 1895 and 1905.
“The Aqueduct has stood the test of time and continues to serve the people of Edinburgh well, and this investment by Scottish Water – improving its internal fabric as a result of repairs, new valves and chamber flooring – will help ensure Scottish Water provides the best possible customer service for our Edinburgh customers in the years to come.”
Edinburgh’s transport and environment convenor, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said: “I’m delighted to see the completion of these vital works which will help safeguard the supply of drinking water to a large proportion of Edinburgh’s residents and businesses.”