Perth was saved from almost certain devastation three times in the last week, flood engineers have revealed.
The city’s multi-million-pound flood defences have been praised forsafeguarding hundreds of homes and businesses during some of the area’s most challenging weather in more than 20 years.
The protection scheme was installed around Perth in 2001 in response to floods in the North Muirton area, which caused £26 million of damage.
Sepa said the last few days had been the biggest test for the system since its launch 14 years ago.
The Perthshire patch was getting back on its feet yesterday after ananxious week of drama and heartache which saw 7,000 sandbags distributed to dozens of communities.
With a respite from rainfall, many closed roads were upgraded to“passable with care”, although around a dozen stayed shut.
And with limited bus services,hundreds of school pupils particularly around the Blairgowrie area had no choice but to take the day off.
Local MP Pete Wishart paid tribute to the council crews who have been working flat out to keep locals safe.
“These defences have been immensely important for the city of Perth,” he said.
“What I’ve been told today is that if we did not have these flood defences in place, it’s more than likely Perth would have flooded three times in recent weeks.
“One of the wisest decisions thecouncil made was to invest in these defences, because there is no doubt they have saved this city from a whole dollop of misery in these last few days.”
Environment committee convener Alan Grant, who gave Mr Wishart a tour of the defences at North Muirton, said: “After the floods in the 1990s, we took the decision that this was something we couldn’t ignore and needed to address.
“It has probably been the biggestsingle capital project the council has ever done, at a cost of about £28m.”
He said: “They’ve stood up to theconditions very well and we haven’t had any water coming over the top.
“My understanding is that large areas of the city could have been flooded three times in the last week and that is quite believable given the river levels we have seen.”
Stagecoach, which on Thursday was forced to cancel all services in and out of Blairgowrie because of hazardous road conditions, said it was battling to get back to normal.
A spokeswoman said: “We areconstantly monitoring the local road and weather situations and have been working with Perth and Kinross Council to do everything we can to operate as full a service as possible, however customers should expect delays on diversion routes.”