Report - Drongos Den - Glasgow, May 2017

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Sewer Rat
Regular User
Apr 24, 2012
I have to admit, its been a while. This year has not been as full of exploration as I would like...

How ever earlier this year, I had Prowler and Critt from Melbourne head over this side of the world and we decided on a road trip up to Scotland, from a purely touristic point of view. We did how ever pick up one explore whilst truly up north..

I introduce you to "Drongos Den".

This is far less of a drain and more of a "Flood Prevention System", sporting a Hydro-Brake, in fact the hydro-brakes installed around Glasgow (of which this is just one of them) are the largest in the world. This whole structure is contained within a dam. It had been on my radar for a little while, it looked very unusual from the satellite view and needed a real life look :)

The scheme is designed to protect 1,750 properties in the South of the city from the risk of flooding.

Manufacturer Hydro International had to pioneer new manufacturing and installation techniques to construct the eight-metre long, six metre-high, cone-shaped Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls which were positioned by the scheme’s main contractor Carillion in dams at Blackhouse and Kittoch.

Carillion is responsible for constructing three flood storage areas on agricultural land in the hills upstream of Glasgow, which together have the capability to hold back more than 571 million gallons of flood water. In June, Carillion positioned three Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls in the third dam at Kirkland Bridge. With a combined stainless steel weight of more than 60 tonnes, all five are the biggest ever produced.

Normally, a shallow, fast-flowing river, White Cart Water is prone to flash-flooding and water levels can rise by six metres after only 12 hours of rain. Since 1908 it has inflicted more than 20 serious floods on homes and other properties in the South Side of the City.

Scotland’s largest confirmed flood prevention scheme has been designed by consulting engineers Halcrow on behalf of Glasgow City Council. During peak storms, the Hydro-Brake® Flow Controls will hold back the White Cart Water and its tributaries Earn Water and Kittoch Water causing the storage areas to flood. Water will be released downstream at a controlled rate so that it does not overspill new flood defences being constructed in the City.

Upstream, a total of 90,000 sq metres of rich and diverse wetland habitats will be created. Downstream, the flow of water will be reduced by up to 45% during peak storms, achieving flood protection to a 1 in 200 year standard or a 0.5% probability of a flood occurring in any one year, when combined with the new flood defences.
Source :®-flow-control-helps-stem-glasgow’s-floods

So on with the photos

1. Outside of the infall section

2. The inside of the infall section, the stream flows through a small box section...

3. This is the hydro-brake it self. The water enters through a small box hole on the right hand side, under normal conditions the water will flow through normally, In a flood situation this turns into a vortex, but on its side. Allowing a large but pre-defined flow depending on the fluvial capacity of the vortex it self, beyond that capacity, (this whole structure is in a dam) the stream back fills into a flood plane.

4. This is the outfall of the vortex it self. Looks nice and quiet now, but I wouldent be keen standing here in a flood situation.

5. Looking towards the outfall of the dam it self.

6. Looking from the outfall of the dam to the vortex it self

7. Outside of the outfall from the dam.


Loyal to the Drain
Regular User
Sep 16, 2007
This is an interesting one!
I've been meaning to have a look at a Hydro Brake dam in the midlands but on the two occasions I have tried, my visits were thwarted.
Glad you mentioned it was in Glasgow as I would have never guessed it with that lovely sunny day and blue sky. :)

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