What is BDS?

The British Dam Society (BDS) is an Associated Society of the Institution of Civil Engineers. It consists of individual and corporate members. It is open to anyone wanting to share experience or knowledge of all aspects of dams and reservoirs.


BDS Movie – A Career in Dam Engineering

BDS News

Outcome of the Defra consultation on on-site plans

Defra has published the results on the consultation on on-site plans and presented the Government response. The key points are:

  • On-site plans will be mandatory for all regulated reservoirs (‘high risk’ and ‘not high risk’ reservoirs)
  • The plan requirements will be set with respect to the risk designation.
  • Updated guidance on preparing on-site plans will be developed and published.
  • New reservoir inundation maps will be published in 2021 by the Environment Agency.
  • A strategy for training in relation to emergency planning will be developed.

You can read the full report here

ICOLD General Assembly

The ICOLD General Assembly met on-line on 30 November 2020. The meeting was chaired by ICOLD President Michael Rogers.

The impact of the pandemic on the activities of ICOLD was discussed. The Annual Meeting scheduled to take place in New Delhi, India has been re-scheduled to 2023. 

Please click 'read more' to see a more detailed summary of the online meeting.

ICOLD Call for Mentors

ICOLD are seeking experienced engineers to act as mentors as part of the ICOLD 2021 conference in Marseille to assist our international young professionals. You can find full details here

EA and NRW reservoir safety guidance relating to the pandemic

NRW has updated its guidance regarding compliance during Covid-19 restrictions and can be found here. The EA’s advice, published in April, remains valid and can be found here.


NRW also advise that with the increased use of social media to showcase work there is an increased risk that photos, diagrams and other information may reveal sensitive detail and expose vulnerabilities. Even small pieces of information, when pieced together over time can be harmful if accessed by anyone with a malicious intent. Before posting material about reservoir construction or maintenance, you are advised to seek the approval of the reservoir undertaker.

Dams and Reservoirs Journal – position of editor

Anthea Peters has decided to stand down as our editor of Dams and Reservoirs after many years in the position. We would like to thank Anthea for her fantastic contribution to the BDS through her work as editor. We are therefore seeking expressions of interest from any member who would like to be considered for the role. The successful applicant would join the BDS Committee as an Honorary Officer. If you are interested in this role please contact our Technical Secretary, Andrew Thompson ( by the end of November.

BDS YouTube channel

The BDS has recently created a playlist on our ‘YouTube’ page of videos from around the web related to dam safety and history that we feel may be of interest to our members. From educational videos about dam engineering principles to fascinating history of some of the UKs most iconic dams, we have curated many nuggets of information that provide insights into the world of dam engineering. The playlist can be viewed here. Whilst every care has been taken to check the links are appropriate, the BDS is not responsible for the content or comments on these 3rd party videos.

AGM and Binnie Lecture

The AGM will be on-line at 6pm on Monday 5 October and will be followed by the Binnie Lecture by Mr John Gosden. Please refer to the event flyer and link on the website for further information and joining instructions.  The winners of the Bateman Prize and the Photography Competition will also be announced during this event.

Dams and Reservoirs Survey

Further to our recent questionnaire on the proposed change to on-line only publication of Dams and Reservoirs from 2021 we can report that we shared the findings of our survey with ICE Publishing and that a paper copy of the magazine will continue to be published next year.

Updates from ICOLD

The 2020 conference in New Delhi in November/December has now been officially cancelled as a physical event. The General Assembly and certain technical meetings will be held on-line in November/December (refer to the website). The symposium “Sustainable Development of Dams and River Basins” will now take place as a physical and virtual meeting on 24-27 February 2021.

BDS Seminar

In lieu of the 2020 conference we are planning a virtual seminar this September using some of the material which would have been used at our conference. We are aware that many of our members will find it difficult to secure funding this year to (virtually) attend a one-day event and we wish to make access to the content as easy as possible. We therefore plan to present the seminar through four one-hour sessions. The sessions will be available on each Monday lunchtime through September, i.e. the 7, 14, 21 and 28 September. These will be free live events using pre-recorded presentations followed by live Q&A. 

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