The British Dam Society
Caring for dams, people and the environment

Current Issues

September 2017: Dam Engineers & Historic Structures

David Hughes, a BDS member, is studying the heritage aspects of historical dams at Bath University.  He has prepared a short survey to seek the views of dam engineers on the heritage aspects of the structures they care for, as reservoir legislation and national heritage policy are often not immediately compatible.  David will write up the results of the survey for a future issue of Dams and Reservoirs, but he has a short deadline of 13 September 2017 to meet his own dissertation requirements.  We would therefore urge you to complete the questionnaire at as soon as you can - it should not take many minutes.


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September 2017: Internal Erosion News

Conference reports:

Rodney Bridle (UK Member ICOLD Technical Committee on Embankment Dams) has recently circulated copies of his informal Internal Erosion News, reporting on internal erosion aspects of Geo-risk 2017 in Denver and ICOLD in Prague (available below).

Geo-Risk, Denver, 2017 report

ICOLD, Prague, 2017 report

United States Society on Dams (USSD) note on a Workshop on 'Dry dams and levees' is also attached here, this is another area where internal erosion is a threat.

Other recent events:

  • 31 August and 01 September there was a Workshop at Imperial College, London,
  • 3-7 September, the ICOLD European Group on Internal Erosion (EWGIE) held its 25th meeting at Deltares in Delft, Netherlands. (This meeting will also be attended by colleagues from the newly formed ICOLD Working Group on Levees and Flood Defence (note about working group from USSD Newsletter attached here).

Upcoming events:

  • The EWGIE meeting in 2018 will be at ICSE9 in Taiwan, dates not yet available.
  • ICOLD in Vienna, 1-7 July 2018.

Details of the Internal Erosion mailing list:

This list is open to anyone interested in internal erosion and is primarily to help spread knowledge about internal erosion. We very much want to encourage application of that knowledge, and hope that more engineers in practice and with expertise on monitoring will participate in internal erosion meetings and apply the new knowledge in their work.

The list is a moderated informal discussion forum for engineers and researchers studying the internal erosion process in soils.

The list is associated with (but not formally linked to) the European Working Group of ICOLD on Internal Erosion in water retaining structures (dams, dikes and levees) Website:

To disseminate information, mailto:

To subscribe mailto:, Subject:SUBSCRIBE internal-erosion (text: nothing)

To unsubscribe, mailto:, Subject:UNSUBSCRIBE internal-erosion (text: nothing)

mailing-list manager:


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August 2017: Guide To Drawdown Capacity For Reservoir Safety And Emergency Planning

Message from the Environment Agency.

We are pleased to inform you that the 'Guide to drawdown capacity for reservoir safety and emergency planning' has been published on GOV.UK.  It can be accessed here:


Environment Agency


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August 2017: Honorary Technical Secretary

BDS is looking for an Honorary Technical Secretary to replace Andrew Pepper when he steps down from the post at the March 2018 AGM.  You can read the job description here, and contact Andrew on if you would like more information on the role.  If you feel you would like to take on this role please let Tracey know on


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August 2017: ICOLD Circulars

We regularly receive circulars from ICOLD, much of which is administrative, but some is of interest to the wider BDS membership.  A summary of recent relevant information is available here, which includes summaries of recently published Technical Bulletins.  Any BDS member can set up their own login on the ICOLD website, but will need the BDS Code, available from the BDS Secretary at ICE (Moira Doherty) at  With your own login you can access all the Technical Bulletins that ICOLD have produced.

You may also be interested in a new Innovation Award that has been launched by ICOLD, which is summarised in the note, but more details are available here: 


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August 2017: Reservoirs Act 1975 (England) - Enforcement Authority's Interpretation of The Supervising Engineer's Statement Requirements

The Environment Agency, as Enforcement Authority for England, have produced their interpretation (available here) of the Supervising Engineer’s statement requirements under the Reservoirs Act 1975 in England.


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July 2017: Reservoir Panel Engineer System Cited as Model for Fire Safety in Buildings

In the current New Civil Engineer there is an article on the Grenfell Tower incident which references the Panel Engineer system that is used to promote reservoir safety. It questions whether a similar system should be set up to reduce the risk of fire in buildings by certifying qualified risk assessors. This is positive acknowledgement of the success of our national reservoir safety legislation.


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July 2017: 25th Meeting of the ICOLD European Working Group on Internal Erosion

We are delighted to invite you to join us at the 25th meeting of the European Working Group on Internal Erosion in Embankment Dams & their Foundations, held on 4- 7 September 2017 at Deltares in Delft (The Netherlands). The European working group meeting is oriented towards sharing knowledge on internal erosion in dams and levees. The organising committee welcomes national and international speakers and participants from governments, industry, universities and research institutes. The main discussion topics are:

  • Field cases and observations
  • Internal erosion mechanisms
  • Internal erosion modelling
  • Risk assessment of internal erosion
  • Monitoring of internal erosion
  • Remediation of dikes and dams for internal erosion

A session will be reserved for discussion of the ICOLD theme: Internal Erosion in dams and levees: similarities and sharing knowledge. At the last day of the conference a visit to the Deltares facilities and several projects along the Dutch levees will be facilitated.

On the website (available here) you can find information about the 25th Meeting of European Working Group on Internal Erosion. Furthermore you can register for this event and submit your abstract.

With kind regards,

On behalf of the organizing committee,

Vera van Beek and Andre Koelewijn

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July 2017: ICOLD 2017 Summary Update

Over twenty BDS Members attended the 85th Annual Meeting of International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD 2017) last week in Prague. Several new members were appointed to ICOLD Technical Committees at the General Assembly in Prague to act as our UK representatives. The appointments were as follows:

  • Technical Committee A on Computational Aspects of Analysis and Design of Dams - Loizos Pelecanos approved as the UK Member
  • Technical Committee G on the Environment - Tracey Williamson elected to the role of Committee Vice President
  • Technical Committee M on Operation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Dams - Craig Goff approved as the UK Member to take over from John Gosden
  • Technical Committee S on Flood Evaluation and Dam Safety - Alan Warren approved as the UK Member to take over from Martin Airey
  • Technical Committee Y on Climate Change - Steve Usher approved as the UK Member to take over from Martin Airey
  • Committee XX Young Engineers Forum (YEF) - Sam Tudor was elected to the ICOLD YEF Board for a three year term.

Congratulations to all the BDS Members and our thanks go to the outgoing UK representatives on these committees.

Progress reports on the work of the committees will be provided in future editions of the Dams & Reservoirs Journal.

It was also announced at the General Assembly that three reports are now ready for publication and will soon be available to BDS Members on the ICOLD website free of charge as follows:

  1. A bulletin from the Technical Committee on Hydraulics for Dams called "Technical advancements in spillway design - progress and innovations from 1985 to 2015".
  2. A bulletin from the Technical Committee on Integrated Operation of Hydropower Stations and Reservoirs called "Integrated Operation of Hydropower Stations and Reservoirs".
  3. A report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Capacity Building called "Action Plan on Capacity Building".

For details on how to access these bulletins, and indeed previously published ones, please contact the BDS Technical Secretary, Andrew Pepper at:


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July 2017: Upcoming event - Reminder

Seepage Induced Geotechnical Instability 2 day Workshop on 31st August 2017 and 1st September 2017 (event flyer here).

For further details and to book the event, please follow the details on the event flyer linked above or on the BDS events page (link here)


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July 2017: 2017 Student Paper Competition - Now Open

This competition is open to students in full-time education under 35 years of age

Participants are invited to visit their local dam and write a short paper on their observations. Participants are encouraged to consider issues such as its use (e.g. water supply / hydropower / flood alleviation / amenity) and the importance of the reservoir to the local community. Participants may also wish to consider: construction type; approximate dimensions; key features e.g. spillway, valves, pipework, tower, tunnel; and details such as the catchment and how the reservoir is fed, and how water is released from the reservoir.

There must be only one author per paper.

1st prize: £400 plus paper published in the journal of the British Dam Society “Dams and Reservoirs”

2nd Prize: £200

3rd Prize: £100

For further details please view the Competition Flyer here.

To enter, students will need to submit their papers (between 1,000 and 1,500 words) to the BDS Secretary: 

Closing date for entries is 24th October 2017.


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July 2017: 2017 BDS PRIZE - Young Persons Paper Competition - Now Open

The BDS Prize Competition for young engineers is open to BDS members under 35 years of age on the date of the competition.

The submitted paper (2,500 words) will be on a topic of dam engineering relating to the author's experience in reservoir research, design, construction, operation, maintenance or supervision. Participants must be able to demonstrate that they have undertaken a significant role, relative to their level of experience, in the project or topic. There must be only one author per paper.

Further details on the flyer available here.

The next competition will take place on 20th November 2017 at the Institution of Civil Engineers where the following prizes will be contested.

  • First Prize - £500
  • Second Prize - £250
  • Third Prize - £100

  Key Dates

  • Synopses submission deadline – 14th August 2017
  • Completed Papers submission deadline – 9th October 2017
  • BDS Prize Competition to be held at ICE - 20th November 2017

To Enter the Competition:

Candidates must submit a 250 word synopsis of their proposed paper together with their brief biographical details to the BDS Secretary by email ( by 14th August 2017.

The authors of synopses assessed as being relevant to the competition will be invited to submit their completed papers by 9th October 2017.


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June 2017: 3rd International Conference on Protection against Overtopping - Call for Papers

The third iteration of the international 'Protections 2018' conference will be taking place in the Lake District, UK, in June 2018 and is expected to cover many areas of interest to BDS members related to the overflowing and wave overtopping of embankments of all kinds

The call for papers, and more information about the event is available here:


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June 2017: ICOLD Annual Meeting 2018

Date for your Diaries,

ICOLD is holding it's 26th Congress and 86th Annual meeting from 29th June 2018 to 7th July 2018 in Vienna.

Due to the close proximity and relative ease of travel why not consider attending this prestigious event or even writing and submitting a paper, the Past BDS Chairman has written an article (available here) with further details.


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June 2017: BDS Young Professionals Steering Group

At the May 2017 BDS Committee meeting it was agreed to change the name of the 'Young Engineers Forum' to 'BDS-Young Professionals', (BDS-YP), as we do not wish to imply that we are limiting membership to engineers only.

A BDS-YP steering group has now been formed, comprising:

BDS-YP Chair Patrick Maguire (Mott MacDonald)
BDS-YP Social Media Champion     Jeremy Fletcher (Arup)
BDS-YP Events Champion   David Steven (Atkins)
BDS-YP Mentoring Champion Jordan Langbridge (Yorkshire Water)

In addition another BDS-YP member, Keith MacDonald (United Utilities), has been nominated to join the main BDS Committee to assist with organising London meetings.


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May 2017: Extension of Deadline For Submitting Abstracts to ICOLD 2018


A recent ICOLD Circular Letter has provided some guidance for National Committees including new rules for paper submissions to the combined 26th Congress & 86th ICOLD Annual Meeting in Vienna in July 2018.  These include:

  • The UK can submit a maximum of 6 papers per question (there are 4 questions – see below) and a total of 18 papers across all of the 4 questions.
  • Each National Committee has an allowance to publish 15 pages per question (not per paper) free of charge.
  • Additional pages per question will include a charge of Euros 38 per page.
  • Each paper should be a maximum of 20 pages.

In addition:

  • Subject to the caveat below, BDS will pay for any pages in excess of the 15 page question quota, regardless of how many UK papers are submitted for a question - although the UK is limited to a maximum of six papers per question, and no more than 18 in total over the four questions.
  • However, if any paper exceeds 15 pages the authors of that paper will be expected to pay for the excess pages at the rate of €38 per additional page (so a maximum of €190)


To ensure that the BDS does not incur excessive charges, please would all authors adhere to the following procedure:

Abstracts & papers need to be submitted to the BDS Technical Secretary Andrew Pepper (email: for review according to the timeline below.  This is based on the requirement for final papers to be submitted to ICOLD by 8th November 2017:

  • 16th June 2017 – Abstracts are to be submitted to the BDS Technical Secretary
  • 7th July 2017 – Authors are notified of acceptance by BDS
  • 22nd September 2017 – Final papers are submitted to BDS Technical Secretary
  • 27th October 2017 – Authors are notified of acceptance by BDS

Guidelines for the preparation of papers can be supplied by the BDS Technical Secretary upon request.

Note that acceptance of a paper by BDS does not mean it will be automatically accepted by the Congress organisers.

Questions voted for Vienna 2018 congress are:


  1. Best practice of storage design, including sediment release structures, reservoir operation and sedimentation management techniques including dredging, sediment removal and debris removal. 
  2. Sediment replenishment techniques downstream of dams for river regime and morphology restoration.
  3. Experiences with turbidity current discharge by bottom outlets and the performance of sediment by-pass tunnels.
  4. Effect of climate change on reservoir sedimentation and consequences on sustainable storage.


  1. Seismic Risk: Lessons from past earthquakes. Cost efficiency of relevant design improvements for dams.
  2. Risk from floods on embankment dams, including climate change. (Data of accidents, risk analysis, efficiency and cost of solutions.)
  3. Various risks for concrete and masonry dams, including climate change. (Data of accidents, risk analysis, specific remedies.)
  4. Non-structural drivers that increase or reduce risk. (Management, alert systems, public safety, data on accidents.)


  1. Geology of foundation (investigation, interpretation and characterization) in relation to dam type selection and dam design. 
  2. Foundation treatment: -Sealing the foundation (e.g. grouting, jet-grouting, cut-off walls, deep cut-off, etc.) -Strengthening the foundation (e.g. consolidation grouting, anchoring, concreted galleries, etc.)
  3. Instrumentation and monitoring, behaviour of foundations, including long-term performance.
  4. Problems and solutions related to soft rocks foundation and foundation on deep overburden. Reservoirs and landslides.


  1. Failure modes of levees: lessons learned, risk analysis, safety levels. 
  2. Design, construction and reinforcement of levees, problems with the original design.
  3. Governance, inspection and monitoring of levees. 
  4. Specific problems experienced and solutions for operating, maintaining and rehabilitation of thousands of “Large Dams” lower than 15m.
  5. Specific problems experienced and solutions for operating, maintaining and rehabilitation of “Small Dams” lower than 15m and storing less than 1 million m3.


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May 2017: Young Engineers Forum - Mentoring Scheme

On behalf of the Young Engineers Forum (YEF) I would like to thank the individuals who came forward at the BDS Conference in September 2016 to be mentors. We are currently still working on how to best implement the mentoring system and hope to send out further information soon as things develop. Education and Knowledge are two of the core elements of the BDS strategy and it is hoped that the YEF mentoring will work to improve knowledge transfer in the BDS community.

If you are a member of the Supervising Engineer or All Reservoir Panel and could give a small amount of your time to act as a mentor to a young engineer (under 35) who is aspiring to join the Supervising Engineers Panel over the next few years, then it would be greatly appreciated. We understand that there are many companies that have internal mentoring schemes and it would be good to hear about these and learn from any successes.

Also if you are a Young Engineer who would be willing to mentor an A level student as part of the Arkwright scholarship scheme, the BDS have become part of, now or in the future we would like to hear from you. Some information about the Arkwright Scholarships Trust can be seen below and further information is available. This is a great opportunity to increase your mentoring skills and inspire future engineers.

'For 25 years, the Arkwright Scholarships Trust has identified and nurtured future leaders in engineering and technical design. Arkwright's Engineering Scholarships support high-calibre, engineering-minded school students over two years, as they study for their A levels or Scottish Highers. Every Scholarship is sponsored and supported by a sponsoring organisation. This year, The British Dam Society is supporting four Arkwright Scholars with an interest in the built environment and environmental engineering.' 

For more information about the YEF please contact the YEF Mentoring Champion Jordan Langbridge (

To register as a mentor or a Young Engineer who would like a mentor please email:


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May 2017: 14th ICOLD International Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams

Dear Colleagues,

The 14th ICOLD International Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams is hosted by KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden in September 2017. We have had an overwhelming interest in the benchmark workshop, and due to this, the venue for the workshop has been updated to a larger conference venue (Hotel Birger Jarl close to KTH).

I would like to remind you that registration is made on the home page 

The design and maintenance of existing dams represent a challenge for the whole engineering community. In this context, the ICOLD Committee on "Computational Aspects of Dam Analysis and Design" has performed noteworthy contribution to the diffusion of knowledge in the specific field of numerical modelling. During its long activity, the Committee has organised 13 Benchmark-Workshops with the aim to offer dam engineers the opportunity to compare experiences in the proper use of numerical analyses.

The 14th Benchmark-Workshop will provide an excellent opportunity for engineers, researchers and operators to present and exchange their experiences on the use of numerical modelling for design, performance evaluation and safety assessment of dams. We are looking forward to an interesting and exciting program with the following themes:

  • Theme A: Cracking of a concrete arch dam due to seasonal temperature variations.
  • Theme B: Static and seismic analysis of an arch-gravity dam.
  • Theme C: Embankment dam behaviour - prediction of arching and cracking potential.
  • Theme D: Risk Analysis-assessment of reliability for concrete dams.
  • Open Theme: Topics and projects within the field of numerical analyses of dams.

We hope to meet you in Stockholm next year!

Best regards

Richard Malm (chairman of the local organising committee)


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April 2017: Reservoir Safety Research Strategy

A process of review and consultation has been used to refresh the Defra strategy for conducting research on reservoir safety. The new strategy provides recommendations for the UK reservoir community for research priorities over the next 5 or more years. The new strategy aims to help Defra, the Environment Agency and its advisers in developing detailed scoping statements for future projects and in commissioning appropriate research contracts to meet the needs of the reservoir industry and to promote good practice.

The updated Reservoir Safety Research Strategy is available via the EA website at


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March 2017: Reservoir Panel Engineer Applications 2017 - Key Dates

Below are the key dates in relation to submitting Reservoir Panel Engineer Applications:

Applications for appointment or re-appointment are emailed to, cc to, and assessed for suitability by the ICE Reservoirs Committee. Applications for reappointment should be sent at least 8 months before expiry.

  • Applications submitted by 30 November 2016 will be assessed and interviewed, if applicable, during week commencing 16 January 2017.
  • Applications submitted by 03 March 2017* will be assessed and interviewed, if applicable, during week commencing 24 April 2017.
  • Applications submitted by 28 August 2017 will be assessed and interviewed, if applicable, during week commending 4 September 2017.

*If you were working to the 30 March 2017 deadline (previously advertised in error), ICE will process your application in this round if it is submitted by 30 March. 

Defra will advise on the outcome of an application in due course following the assessment process.

Further details of the Revised Supervising Engineer Application process and the required forms are available in the October 2016 article "Changes to the Supervising Panel Engineer Application Process" below.


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February 2017: Condition Assessment of Dams - Case Studies for Nottingham Trent University

Roland Kromanis is a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University who is delivering a new MSc module in Structural Engineering - Condition Assessment and Health monitoring of civil infrastructure.

He has realised that water supply reservoirs are critical national assets and he has therefore included the importance of the condition assessment of dams (including embankment dams) in the module.

He would appreciate good case studies of dam condition assessment and monitoring to use as examples for his students.  Does any BDS member have any condition assessment or monitoring cases studies of dams they could share with him?

Furthermore, part of the coursework focuses on data interpretation, so if anyone has data which needs to be analysed, he suggests it could be given to the students as a project, which may provide you with useful feedback.

If you can offer any help for this course, which could well arouse an interest in dams from some of the students, please contact Roland direct on 


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January 2017: BDS Announces Sponsorship of Four Arkwright Scholars

As part of the BDS Strategy to promote Dams and Reservoir Engineering and support the new generation of Reservoir Engineers, the BDS is proud to announce its work with the Arkwright Scholarship Trust (see previous news feed for further details).

The BDS has sponsored four Arkwright Scholars whilst they study for their A Levels, further details are available here.


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January 2017: BDS Supporting the next generation of Engineers

As part of the BDS Strategy to promote Engineering and support the new generation of Reservoir Engineers, the BDS is proud to announce it is working with the Arkwright Scholarship Trust.

The Arkwright Scholarship Trust identify, inspire and nurture future leaders in Engineering, Computing and technical design, by awarding scholarships to high-calibre students who apply when in year 11 (England and Wales), S4 (Scotland) or Year 12 (Northern Ireland).

The Engineering Scholarships support students through their A Levels or Scottish Advanced Highers and encourage students to pursue Engineering, Computing or technical Design at university or through a higher-level apprenticeship and to pursue careers in the field.

Every Scholarship is sponsored by an industrial company, university, charitable trust, trade association, professional institution, armed service, worshipful company, industry regulator or personal donor.

Find out more about The Arkwright Scholarship Trust by clicking the link here.


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January 2017: Reservoir Safety Post Incident Report 2015

The Environment Agency (EA) collect and record information on incidents at raised reservoirs, both large and small. Large raised reservoirs in England are those covered by the Reservoirs Act 1975.

The EA use this information to:

  • Investigate incidents (where appropriate)
  • Inform the reservoir industry of any trends and key lessons identified
  • Contribute to research into reservoir safety and incident frequency analysis.
  • All incident data is entered onto the national database, which can be used to inform reservoir safety research.

The published 2015 report is available here:

or, the following link opens the EA Reservoir Safety post incident report webpage that contains further details and all the recently published reports:

The EA have advised that their records show there has only been a very limited number of downloads carried out for the 2014 report. In future the .GOV domain is likely to remove data that is not receiving sufficient 'hits' so they cannot guarantee the documents will remain available via the links listed above.


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December 2016: New Guidance published - Design, Operation and Adaptation of Reservoirs for Flood Storage

This report provides a comprehensive guide on the development and use of flood storage reservoirs, drawing on good practice in UK and international reservoir planning, design, operation and maintenance.

The guidance is aimed at a wide range of stakeholders including planners, developers, reservoir owners, asset managers, designers, contractors, regulatory engineers / advisers, environmentalists, academic institutions and the public.

Where use is made of flood storage reservoirs, application of the guidance will help to achieve long-term improvement in flood risk management and so help protect human life, property, critical infrastructure and the environment.

The guidance describes contemporary best practice and experience of the design, operation and maintenance of flood storage reservoirs. Existing reservoirs formed originally to secure reliable water supply or to provide some other function can be adapted to provide a flood storage function.

The report covers practical considerations when modifying the use of existing reservoirs for flood storage, but does not consider policy aspects. Case studies and images are used to illustrate best practice and to share practical knowledge from past and existing schemes - their successes, failures and challenges.

Where available, the report references more detailed guidance - drawing on international practices and UK strategy documents, codes, standards and engineering guides.

The report is presented in 6 sections, together with a supporting appendix of more detailed technical information. Text is arranged to guide readers to the sections most relevant to their interests.

The contents include:

  • Planning and preliminary design - describes the typical steps required to develop preliminary design proposals and presents planning and environmental legal considerations,
  • Detailed design - considers design standards, new dams and the modification of existing flood storage dams, landscape and environmental design,
  • Operation and maintenance – describes the requirements for typical structures and devices used in flood storage reservoirs and presents guidance on improving operational reliability and effective monitoring,
  • Adaptation of existing reservoirs for flood storage - gives examples of dual-use reservoir operation, explains the benefits and challenges of adaptation to flood storage and considers the use of obsolete water supply reservoirs for flood risk management,
  • The guidance also contains advice on health and safety management from design to operation and maintenance.

An electronic copy of the guide is freely available from the following link:


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October 2016: Changes to the Supervising Panel Engineer Application Process

From 1st October 2016 the Supervising Engineer Panel application process is changing with the provision of dedicated application forms, for new and reappointment applicants, and an attribute based assessment system to appraise candidate suitability.

Please find below links to the new documents.

New Application Documents:

  1. Attributes for Supervising Engineer,
  2. Guidance for those Seeking Appointment to the Supervising Engineer Panel,
  3. RC01 Supervising Engineers Panel – Application for New Appointment,
  4. RC01G Supervising Engineers Panel – Application for New Appointment Guidance,
  5. RC02 Reservoirs Experience Front Page,
  6. RC02 Reservoirs Experience Extra Pages.


Reapplication Documents:

  1. Attributes for Supervising Engineer,
  2. Guidance for those Seeking Appointment to the Supervising Engineer Panel,
  3. RC05 Supervising Engineers Panel – Application for Reappointment,
  4. RC05G Supervising Engineers Panel – Application for Reappointment Guidance,
  5. RC06 Reservoirs Experience Front Page,
  6. RC06 Reservoirs Experience Extra Pages.


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