Torrents of fast-moving water gushed through the city centre, flooding streets and walkways.
Burst mains in the north, South Side and East End of the city also shut roads causing travel chaos and leaving thousands of people without water.
Bosses at Scottish Water were inundated with calls from more than 3000 concerned residents.
They say the flooding was caused after the central system for regulating water pressure malfunctioned early yesterday morning.
A surge damaged valves, breaking pipes and sending water cascading onto streets.
The affected streets were: Keppochill Road in Possilpark; Cowcaddens Road and New City Road in the city centre; Tankerland Road in Cathcart; Bisland Drive in Ruchill; Pollokshaws Road, Mount Stuart Drive and Gourock Street in the Southside; and Duke Street in Dennistoun.
One of the worst affected streets was Cowcaddens Road, near the junction with Hope Street, where shocked bystanders watched as a 30ft stream of water shot through the tarmac and sent water hurtling into the sky.
At nearby Cowcaddens Subway station, the underpass at Garscube Road filled with up to 6ft of water.
Strathclyde Partnership for Transport said the station and subway services were unaffected.
But at Glasgow Kelvin College on Shamrock Street, previously known as Stow College, around 600 students and 90 staff had to be evacuated when flood water from another burst main at New City Road rushed towards the front of the building at round 10am.
It will remain closed to students today for safety reasons.
In a statement, a spokeswoman from the college said: "Due to problems with a water main, Glasgow Kelvin College's City Campus - Stow Building at Shamrock Street has experienced flooding and, in the interests of safety, will be closed to learners during Friday January 10.
"Displaced teaching staff have been asked to relocate to the Easterhouse Campus and support staff to the Springburn Campus in the meantime.
"We regret any inconvenience but until we have information from the emergency services and are able to assess any potential damage, we cannot give an indication of the duration of the closure."
Water supplies at city primary schools and nurseries were also affected and pupils from St Anne's Primary School, near Gallowgate, were sent home for the day.
St Aloysius College in Garnethill was also left with limited water following the burst.
A spokesman for the College said: "As the result of a burst water main in the G4 area, water supplies to the college were limited from approximately 10am yesterday.
"Having contacted Scottish Water, we continued to monitor the situation and water tanks began refilling at approximately 11.15am.
"We will continue to monitor the situation throughout the day."
Glasgow City Council also said that burst mains caused water tanks to run low at St Roch's Primary School on Royston Road, Onslow Drive Nursery in Dennistoun - where full-time children remained on site only - and Sighthill Nursery.
A spokeswoman for the council said: "Schools affected should be open as on Friday morning with updated information on our website and via twitter @GlasgowCC."
Throughout the day Cordia home carers worked to distribute water to affected service users.
Hundreds of bottles were delivered to the home care bases, which they in turn took out to individuals.
Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews worked throughout the day to clear floodwater from city streets.
Station Commander Scott McFarlane, incident commander, said crews were called to Glasgow Kelvin College on Shamrock Street at around 9.15am.
He said: "Two appliances attended from Springburn along with one from Cowcaddens and the major incident unit from Clydebank with firefighters conducting salvage operations and using pumps to clear large volumes of water from buildings and streets.
"The crews did a great job of getting the college evacuated and cordoning off the area to keep the public safe, as well as dealing with the floodwater."
A spokesman for Scottish Water said it has recently completed a £3.5million pipe network upgrade in Glasgow City Centre with more work planned as part of a wider five-year £250m project.
He added that yesterday's bursts were the fault of the pressure management system and not a problem with the network.
The spokesman said: "We are investigating the cause of the issue with our pressure management system and will work to identify how it can be avoided in future.
"We apologise for any inconvenience as a result of these burst water mains and we want to reassure customers that we are working hard to restore supplies as soon as possible."
Work to restore water to affected homes continued into last night.