DOZENS of appren-tices are being recruited as part of a major initiative to tackle sewer flooding across Glasgow and the surrounding area.

Scottish Water is spending £250million on the area's waste water network to improve the River Clyde and cope with the effects of increased rainfall.

It is the biggest investment in Greater Glasgow's network in more than a century and will help safeguard 500 existing jobs while creating 50 new apprenticeships among sub-contractors.

The five-year programme covers an area stretching from Renfrew in the west to Airdrie in the east and from Lennoxtown in the north to Rutherglen in the south.

Anti-flood measures costing £45m will be introduced including:

l Elmvale Row in Spring-burn where 10 properties are at risk of internal flooding and another 24 from external flooding when a trunk sewer system becomes overloaded. More than £10m is to be spent on remedial action.

l Shafton Road in Knightswood, where homes are flooded when the sewer system becomes over- loaded. Internal flooding has hit 27 properties in the past while external flooding has affected another 35. Improvements costing £1.2m are planned.

l A new transfer sewer and storage system costing £1.7m is being installed to tackle floods in Strowan Crescent in the Tollcross and Shettleston area where 25 homes are at risk.

l Six other city projects are in the pipeline –Lethamhill Road, Fullarton Avenue, Baillieston Road/Sandyhills Road, Ardgay Street and Aikenhead Road – and all will be completed before the Commonwealth Games.

A spokesman for Scottish Water said further work costing another £250m could be on the drawing board to transform an ageing network into a modern drainage system which is more suited to the demands of 21st century Glasgow.

Scottish Water's asset management director Geoff Aitkenhead said: "Scottish Water's invest-ment is only one part of the answer, although a major component, to the pressures on the drainage network to cope with the sheer volume of waste water and surface water run-off happening in today's climate and the anticipated climate of the future."

Details, which were revealed in yesterday's Evening Times, were announced at an official launch at Glasgow Science Centre.

The news was welcomed by city MSP and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said: "This investment is essential to Glasgow's economic prosperity. It will improve the environment and ensure that new customers can connect to this essential public service.

"This investment is another critical step on the path to ensure that Scottish Water provides one of the best value-for-money water and sewerage packages in the UK."

Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council, said: "Waste water facilities are something we can take for granted but they provide a vital service for every one of us – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Scottish Water's investment and the fact that it will help Glasgow continue to grow and flourish and protect and enhance our environment, is great news for the city."

The programme will also improve the quality of water in the River Clyde, as well as its natural environment, along with other rivers while ensuring the drainage system is better able to deal with increased rainfall.