South Scotland

St Mary's Loch works helped Selkirk's flood fight

St Mary's Loch
Image caption A reservoir at the bottom of St Mary's Loch has been modified to help protect Selkirk from flooding

Works at St Mary's Loch are being credited with helping a Borders town avoid the worst of flooding damage caused by Storm Desmond.

A flood protection scheme is still under construction in Selkirk but it stood up well to the recent rain.

Temporary gaps in a new wall on the River Ettrick were plugged and a 100-metre mound built.

Flood protection scheme project manager Conor Price said the loch works also played their part.

"We have purchased the reservoir at the bottom of the loch from Scottish Water and we have modified it such that the loch holds almost three million cubic metres of water during a flood event," he said.

"The event in the Ettrick last weekend should have been a one in 25-year event but because of the attenuation capacity of St Mary's Loch we were able to reduce that to a one in 10-year event."

He said that kept river levels through the town down by a significant amount.

"That reduction in water levels is probably the reason that the properties at Lindean did not flood," he said.

"And it certainly reduced the pressure on the town by keeping the water levels lower than they would have been otherwise."

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