19th century engineering ‘masterpiece’ set for £52m revamp

ABERDEENSHIRE’S historic waterworks is to undergo a £52 million revamp, Scottish Water has announced.

The treatment works at Invercannie in Banchory was opened by Queen Victoria in 1866 to supply the then 75,000 population of Aberdeen with 27 million litres of water each day.

The facility was hailed a jewel in the crown of engineering, with pure water being diverted from the River Dee via a 1.3 mile tunnel to the reservoir in Invercannie, 244 feet above sea level. After passing through sand filters, the water is gravity-fed through an elliptical brick aqueduct to reservoirs in Aberdeen, with the original Victorian intake bed still remaining. The plant remains the main source of drinking water for the region today – delivering water for around 300,000 customers.

A two-year project will now ensue to ‘completely’ refurbish the plant to allow it to deliver 63 million litres of drinking water a day. A new water storage tank, air filtration plan, and a new pumping station and pipework are being installed by Scottish Water’s alliance partner ESD.

ESD operations manager, David Lindsay, said, “This significant investment by Scottish Water will help ensure the existing plant at Invercannie has the resilience to continue supplying fresh, great-tasting water to customers in Deeside and surrounding areas for years to come.”

Gavin Steel, corporate affairs manager at Scottish Water, added, “The construction of the original Aberdeen Waterworks was arguably one of the city’s biggest undertakings.

“It’s an amazing testament to the engineering excellence of the Victorian era that parts of the original infrastructure at Invercannie are still in use more than 150 years later.

“Scottish Water and ESD are now ensuring the water treatment works will continue to provide world-class drinking water far into the future. Our teams are tackling different challenges, including delivering their work safely while continuing to supply world-class drinking water to our customers across the region. We are building with care upon a proud heritage.”