A flood protection scheme for Stonehaven could be completed within three-and-a-half years, councillors have been told.
But members were also warned that efforts to protect the town from flooding could be held up by legal wrangles.
Head of Aberdeenshire Council’s roads and landscaping services, Philip McKay, said the significant “potential impact” of any flood protection scheme in Stonehaven could cause the authority problems in acquiring land.
Stonehaven was badly damaged when the River Carron burst its banks just before Christmas and affected around 140 properties.
It was the second time in three years that the town had been damaged by floods.
Mr McKay revealed that the first step in protecting the town from the risk of flooding was imminent and the authority waas taking steps to reduce risk while a larger-scale project is developed.
He said the council was looking to reopen a drain at Arbuthnott to stop water gathering and ease pressure on the system.
He told the policy and resources committee last Thursday: “There are two problems in Stonehaven – one with the water course and the other from surface water which collects in the lower part of the town.
“Arbuthnott drain by itself isn’t the solution to the water course, but it would have some benefit until the flood protection scheme is in place.
“We intend to take that scheme forward now that we have recommendations from the hydrologist.
“It’s relatively straightforward, and I would hope that within 12 months we would have something on the ground there.”
Councillors were also informed that a principal engineer would soon be appointed to oversee the delivery of the flood defence scheme.
But he stressed that it would be a number of years before the scheme was in place, owing to ongoing talks with consultants on which of the six options to take forward and the subsequent steps it would take to acquire land before building could get under way.
After the meeting, Stonehaven and Lower Deeside councillor Graeme Clark said: “It’s really important to get these resilience measures in place as soon as possible.
“An awful lot of folk suffered a huge amount of damage to their homes and properties during the recent floods and I don’t want people to have to endure that yet again.
“This is a good start and I welcome the attention being paid to the issue, but time is of the essence if we are to prevent yet another repeat of the flooding which affected Stonehaven.”