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Independent Reservoir Safety Review Report

An independent review of reservoir safety legislation and its application was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2020 and was led by Professor David Balmforth.

The review report, published on 13 May 2021, provides a comprehensive assessment of the current safety regime in England. It makes recommendations for improving the safety regime and to strengthen the roles and responsibilities for the regulator, reservoir owners and engineers.

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Reservoir on-site emergency flood plans

A Ministerial Direction to require on-site flood plans for large raised reservoirs in England was issued to all undertakers on 22nd April 2021. A copy of which has been put onto for reference and information.

Here are links to the Ministerial Direction and the associated guidance documents.

Ministerial Direction – requirement for reservoir on-site emergency flood plans

Guidance documents 

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Next evening meeting

Our next evening meeting with be The History of Thames Water Reservoirs on Monday 12th July 2021 at 6pm. This meeting will be an on-line only event.


Further details including the full list of presenters and the necessary links will be made available on our website shortly.

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Royal Society special issue - Intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes and implications for flash flood risks

Royal Society Publishing has recently published a special issue of Philosophical Transactions A entitled Intensification of short-duration rainfall extremes and implications for flash flood risks organised and edited by Hayley Fowler, Conrad Wasko and Andreas F Prein and the articles can be accessed directly at

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Update on the Toddbrook Part A review recommendations from the EA

We have a message from Tony Deakin, Head of Reservoir Safety, Environment Agency which provides an update on the work arising from Part A of the Toddbrook review. Tony’s message is reproduced below.

“You may recall the actions as a result of Part A of the independent review into the 2019 Toddbrook Reservoir spillway failure by Prof David Balmforth.

At that time I set out a plan to respond to the Part A recommendations as follows:

  • Deliverable 1 – Spillway Design Guide
  • Deliverable 2 – Spillway Inspection Guide
  • Deliverable 3 – Spillway Failure Mechanisms Research
  • Deliverable 4 – Guidance on the contents of a well-structured package of information on the reservoir
  • Deliverable 5 – Guidance to Inspecting Engineers
  • Deliverable 6 - Guidance to Supervising Engineers
  • Deliverable 7 – Guidance to Owners

The team which supporting me to deliver this plan:

Kieron Kenny –

Viktor Pavlov –

Eddie Robinson –

Tim Daly –

Many of you have already responded to my initial request and have generously offered your support to develop this guidance, for which I am grateful.  If you did respond and haven’t already been contacted by my team, then you should expect to be contacted in the next few weeks.  If you haven’t responded and would like to be involved, please get in touch with me or one of my team.  It’s important that this guidance is developed collaboratively by a representative cross section of the reservoir community and your support is necessary to achieve this.

Part B of the independent review will consider the legislative and regulatory framework which governs the management of reservoirs in England.  In anticipation of potential changes to legislation as a result of this review, we have adapted our plan and now intend to publish deliverables 4, 5, 6 and 7 as interim guidance, which will respond specifically to the recommendations of the Part A review, pending the future introduction of new or updated legislation.

My team has been busy developing the necessary plans to prepare and publish this guidance in the late summer/early autumn of this year and look forward to engaging with those of you who so generously offer your time.“

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Next evening meeting

Our next on-line evening meeting together with the AGM is on 26 April at 6pm. This will be followed by a presentation on Emergency Planning for Reservoirs. Further details including the full list of presenters will be made available on our website shortly.

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ICOLD Congress postponed

ICOLD has advised that the Congress in Marseilles has been postponed until 12-19 November 2021 on account of the pandemic.

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Next evening meeting

Our next on-line evening meeting is on 1 March at 6pm. Peter Mason will be presenting on “Concrete spillways – inspections and defects”.

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NRW position statement on risk designation and first inspection of statutory reservoirs in Wales

Natural Resources Wales have recently published an important position statement relating to the processes for risk designation and first inspection of statutory reservoirs of between 10,000 – 25,000m3 capacity. You can find the document here.

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Extreme flood research

The Environment Agency has started a new project which aims to improve Probable Maximum Precipitation (PMP) and Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) estimation for reservoir safety.

The project aims to assess the suitability of existing methods for estimating PMP and PMF and develop new methods and guidelines to ensure that we understand the risk posed to our highest risk reservoirs from extreme flood events. You can find further details here. Please click "Read More" for more information.

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Election of new BDS Chair and Vice Chair

I am pleased to announce that David Littlemore has been elected by the BDS Committee to stand as the next BDS Chair with effect from the AGM on 26 April. Rachel Davies has been elected as the next Vice-Chair. Congratulations on your new roles!

Dams and Reservoirs Editor

We have a new editor of our journal Dams & Reservoirs. Anthea Peters has been our editor for many years and we would like to thank her for the fantastic contribution she has made in securing interesting content for our journal. The new editor is Andrew Pepper who once served on the Committee as our Technical Secretary and is very familiar with our industry and the needs of the membership. 

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Nominations for new BDS Committee members

Members should have received nomination forms for new membership of the BDS Committee and the Young Professionals Group. We have many spaces available on the committee from April to replace elected members who have completed their term. The deadline for nominations is 29 March. We hope you will consider actively contributing to the BDS.

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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

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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.

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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

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January 2021 evening meeting

Our next evening meeting (on-line) will be on Monday 11 January on “The use of dam break risk curves to optimise an ALARP assessment” presented by Hermann Stehle, Jon Holland, Rhys Coombs and Tom Wanner. The full details can be found here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Updates from ICOLD

ICOLD has recently published its World Declaration on Dam Safety which you can find here. We have also received an update from Central Office on the status of the 2020 and 2021 annual meetings which you can find here

We have recently received an update from EURCOLD regarding the Hydropower-Europe initiative. Please contact Alan Warren for further details.

As a reminder, BDS Members should contact the BDS Technical Secretary for the current login and password information in order to access ICOLD documents through their website.

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Opportunities for representation on ICOLD Technical Committees

We invite all members to apply to represent the interests of the BDS on a number of ICOLD Technical Committees (TC). The Job Description for our representatives can be found here. We are seeking candidates to take up the role from 1 January 2021 and require applications to be made by 30 September 2020 in writing to Andrew Thompson (Honourable Technical Secretary) at Existing representatives (as applicable) can apply for a mandate to extend their role by up to three years. New representatives will receive a mandate for up to six years. 

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Professional development relating to Mine Waste Facilities

Mike Cambridge has provided BDS with a short article outlining the professional development requirements to acquire competency in relation to mine waste facilities. You can find his article here.

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Photo Competition

As usual we are running our photography competition. Full details can be found here. You have until 23 September 2020 to submit your photos for the chance to win a cash prize. Please note that entries MUST be uploaded to the BDS website directly in accordance with the competition rules. Good luck!

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Toddbrook Seminar and feedback

Thank you for your many messages of praise for the Toddbrook Seminar. We had over 500 participants of which 97% reported they were happy with the event. We received a very large number of questions. A link will be provided by the ICE as soon as the Q&A session is available to view.

We are planning a special edition of Dams and Reservoirs on the Toddbrook incident. The editor will welcome short accounts or thought pieces on the incident from the membership. If you were involved in the emergency response, were one of those affected by the evacuation or simply someone who would like to provide some comment on the events at Whaley Bridge then please write to us before the end of September – but please keep it brief! You can contact the editor at

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BDS Seminar

In lieu of the 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 live events using pre-recorded presentations followed by live Q&A. The four events will be recorded and will be available to view again afterwards.    

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Defra consultation on emergency planning

We would like to remind you of Defra’s consultation about reservoir emergency on-site flood plans. The consultation is open until 10 August. Defra would like to hear your views about the type of information you need to assist you with emergency planning, what training would be useful to you and your staff, and for others in preparing and testing emergency plans for the reservoir and corresponding local plans. The link is here

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ICOLD 2021 Innovation Award

ICOLD are offering an Innovation Award, a cash prize of Euro1500 and free registration to the Congress in 2024 for winning submissions on the theme of innovation. Entries must be submitted by 15 October 2020. The presentation will be made in Marseilles during the Congress in June 2021. Full details are on the ICOLD website.   

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Defra consultation on reservoir emergency onsite plans

Defra has launched the consultation on the industry requirements for reservoir onsite plans. Please read the full news item for more information.


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ICOLD 2021

Papers for the Symposium in Marseille next year are now asked to submit their abstract by 15 June (extended deadline) to The full papers are required by 15 September.

Papers for the ICOLD 2021 Congress on any of the four questions must be sent to ICOLD from the national committees by 5 October 2020 so completed papers will be needed by the BDS by mid-September. If you intend to prepare a paper as the lead author could you please send an abstract to Andrew Thompson at by the end of June. Some restrictions on national committees apply. The four questions are:

  • Concrete dam design innovation and performance
  • Incidents and accidents concerning dams
  • Surveillance, instrumentation, monitoring and data acquisition
  • Dams and climate change

The Initial Bulletin for the event is now available for further information.

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ICE Green Paper consultation on Covid-19 and infrastructure

The ICE are seeking responses to the Covid-19 and the new normal for infrastructure systems Green Paper consultation.  The paper discusses the early lessons that the infrastructure sector should take away from the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK and poses a number of questions to gauge what future infrastructure provision should look like. This consultation runs until 14 June 2020. Responses can be made by emailing

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Toddbrook Seminar, 6 July

Our next event will be the on-line seminar covering the incident at Toddbrook Reservoir and the subsequent investigations. To book and view this event, go the ICE website.  If you previously booked a place in March prior to the postponement you may have been contacted already by the ICE and should not need to re-book. The event is free. Further details can be found on our website here. Note that a selection of presentations will be available to view on the ICE website ahead of the seminar from 29 June.

The terms of reference for Part B of the Toddbrook investigation can be viewed here.

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Online Event: Early Behaviour of Concretes in Large Dams

The BDS International Lecture by Dr Quentin Shaw on ‘Early Behaviour of Concretes in Large Dams’ will be streamed on-line on Monday 18 May at 6pm. Refer to the website for full details.

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Toddbrook Incident Bulletin

Further to the investigation reports on the incident at Toddbrook Reservoir last year, the Environment Agency has published a technical bulletin covering the key messages for the industry. The bulletin can be accessed here.

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BDS conference and other 2020 events

It is likely that mass gatherings for conferences and evening meetings will not be permitted for some time to come. This has inevitably impacted our event planning, most notably the BDS Conference. In addition to the high risk of government restrictions affecting our ability to host this conference, we are mindful of the economic conditions arising from the present crisis that will prevent many members gaining financial support to attend the event. We presently have no plans to open registration for the conference. We are working with the University of Nottingham and we will confirm the date of the next conference as soon as we can.

We plan to host the International Lecture by Quentin Shaw in May or June by video conference. Full details will be provided in the coming weeks.

The Toddbrook Seminar is scheduled for 6 July. This will be presented only by video link and further details will be provided in due course.

We are planning a one-day virtual seminar, the BDS seminar, on 18 September, to deliver presentations on a wide range of subjects. The Bateman Prize winner will be announced during the seminar. This event, and the Toddbrook Seminar, will be recorded so that you can either attend the event on the day or view it later through use of the recordings. For a limited time after these events, we will welcome written questions on the presentations from members. All questions and responses will subsequently be added to the event link.


The AGM and Binnie Lecture will be held on 5 October. This is also presently planned as an on-line only event. 

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ICOLD event changes

The ICOLD 2020 conference in New Delhi has been further postponed and is currently scheduled to take place on 28 November to 3 December. Details are available here.

The ICOLD Congress and Symposium in Marseilles, France is scheduled for June 2021. The deadline for abstracts for the Congress will be announced later in the year. The abstracts deadline for the Symposium has been extended to 15 May.

The European Working Group on Internal Erosion meeting in Sheffield has been postponed to July 2021.


The planned ICOLD 2022 and ICOLD 2023 Annual Meetings have been swapped: ICOLD 2022 will now take place in Gothenburg, Sweden and ICOLD 2023 will take place in Shiraz, Iran.

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Defra research on small reservoir risk published

Defra has released the report on the three-year research project completed by Mott MacDonald on reservoir risk. The report reviews the risk designation process for statutory reservoirs, evaluates the number of small raised reservoirs in England and the risk that they pose. The work will inform a review of present legislation.


The report can be accessed here.  

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ICE Reservoirs Committee

Further to the earlier call for new members of the Reservoirs Committee, the deadline for applications has been extended to 12 May. 

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Regulatory guidance in relation to coronavirus

You may wish to refer to the relevant regulatory guidance and position statement in relation to reservoir safety enforcement and COVID-19. The Environment Agency site is here; an information notice from NRW has also been circulated and is available here; and SEPA has also issued guidance and a regulatory position statement.

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ICOLD 2021 - Marseilles, France

We wish to remind you that abstracts for the 27th ICOLD Congress and 89th Annual Meeting to be held on 4-11 June 2021 in Marseille must be submitted to ICOLSD by 30 April. All details can be found at

If you have already submitted an abstract or plan to do so could you please inform our Technical Secretary, Andrew Thompson ( with the details of the paper.

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Reservoir Committee – new membership

The following notice has been prepared by the ICE Reservoirs Committee:

“Applications are requested for forthcoming vacancies on the Reservoirs Committee. From the October 2020 meeting, the Committee will be appointing 1 Supervising Engineer and 3 All Reservoirs Panel Engineers to the Committee.  

The appointees will serve a term of three years, or shorter if determined by the Committee.  Applications shall be submitted to the secretary of the Committee at Institution of Civil Engineers (at, by 1 May 2020. Applicants must include a brief statement (200 words) on their suitability for appointment. All applicants shall have their employer’s approval to serve on the Committee, if appointed

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Calendar changes for events

The current global health crisis has had an inevitable impact on the events that we had hoped to bring you this year. As the situation with coronavirus and any government restrictions over the coming months is very hard to predict, the forward planning for our events is also in a state of flux. Dates for future events will be determined when circumstances allow. 

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Toddbrook investigation reports

The Government independent review report on the Toddbrook investigation was released on 16 March and can be found here.

Access to a video on the report findings by CRT Chief Executive Richard Parry and the CRT investigation report can be found here.


We strongly encourage members to take time to carefully study and learn from the findings.

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BDS Toddbrook Reservoir Seminar and International Speaker events postponed

We deeply regret that, principally due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, we are unable to schedule the seminar on the Toddbrook Reservoir incident on 16 March. The new date proposed for the event is Monday 6th July at the ICE, London. The postponement will allow the membership to become more aware of the incident details ahead of the seminar. Firstly, we plan to host a technical site meeting at Toddbrook Reservoir site on 21 April, assuming that no health restrictions apply to such an event with small groups at the time. Details will be provided shortly. Secondly, we understand that the Government Independent Review report (which was originally due to be released at the end of 2019) will be released in the coming days. The CRT investigation report is likely to be released at the same time. Our members will now have good time to read these reports well before the seminar.

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Impact of Coronavirus on ICOLD and BDS events

ICOLD has announced that the 2020 annual meeting scheduled to be held in New Delhi, India on 4-10 April will now be held on 26 September – 1 October on account of the present global health concerns. You can read the announcement on the ICOLD site: If you are aware on any persons planning to travel to the event who are not members of the BDS please forward this message accordingly.

The BDS seminar on the Toddbrook Reservoir incident and response at the ICE in London on 16 March is currently still scheduled. If you have booked a place to attend but subsequently decide to view the event remotely please let the ICE know so that catering requirements can be adjusted accordingly.

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ICOLD Update

ICOLD has been working on an international declaration on the safety of dams and this has now been published and uploaded to our website.

ICOLD are seeking comments on the paper “Dam failures - statistical analysis” by 15 March. The paper can be found on the ICOLD website (Circular Letter 1964).

The European Working Group on Internal Erosion will host a meeting in Sheffield on 7-10 July. Abstracts are requested before 15 March. Details can be found here.


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Send us your videos!

We recently received a video produced by Storm Geomatics to promote the British reservoir industry and their contribution to it. You can view the video here. We will be happy to receive similar videos from other companies with the aim of producing a catalogue of interesting videos on dam engineering.

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2018 PIR annual report

The 2018 post-incident reporting annual report for England has been published by the Environment Agency and is available here.

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Toddbrook Reservoir Incident Seminar

Members can now register a place at the upcoming Toddbrook Reservoir Incident day seminar, which will take place on 16th March 2020 at One Great George Street, London. Registration is free but required for attendance. The programme for the day can be found here.


To register, users should go to

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ICOLD Update

Bulletins 150 (Cutoffs for Dams) and 160 (Dam decommissioning guidelines) are available to view on the ICOLD website.

Comments are invited on the draft bulletin Flood evaluation, hazard determination and risk management. 

This year’s annual meeting of ICOLD is in New Delhi, India in the week commencing 6 April.

Planning is already well underway for the 2021 ICOLD Congress in Marseilles, France which will be held on 5-11 June 2021.



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BDS Dissertation Prize

This prize is awarded based on research dissertations submitted as part of a BEng, MEng, or MSc degree.  Three prizes will be awarded (1st, 2nd, 3rd).  The original deadline for submission is Jan 20 2020 and the university should submit on behalf of the students.  We are extending the deadline to Feb 28 2020.

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BDS Undergraduate Research Bursary

This year we have relaunched this bursary scheme with a new format.  The BDS is inviting academic staff to submit research proposals in topics related to dams and reservoirs engineering. Proposals should include the name of the student selected by the supervisor to carry out the study during the summer of 2020 - contact details are within the news item page. The deadline is Feb 28 2020.

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New CIRIA and Environment Agency Guides

A number of new guidance documents are available which may be of interest to members:

  • CIRIA C786F Culvert, screen and outfall manual, December 2019, available by free download from CIRIA;
  • Environment Agency SC110005/S Blockage management guide, November 2019, available here.

In addition, publication of CIRIA R1071: Pipework, Valves and Associated Equipment in Dams. A guide to operation, maintenance, condition assessment and rehabilitation (the subject of this month’s evening meeting) is due this Spring.

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21st BDS Conference

The 21st BDS Conference will be held at the University of Nottingham between 16th and 19th September 2020.

The main theme of the conference will be; Sustainability within the context of UK dam development, management and operation.

Synopses, maximum 250 words, should be submitted by 30th November 2019 to the BDS Honorary Technical Secretary.

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BDS Supervising Engineer Mentoring Scheme 2019/2020

The steady decline in reservoir panel engineers is a real threat to the dam industry. Encouraging and supporting the next generation of dam engineers is key to overcoming this threat. With this in mind, the British Dam Society Supervising Engineer Mentoring Scheme has been established.

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10th International Conference on Scour and Erosion (ICSE 10) - Call for Abstracts

The conference theme is: understanding of processes and design for protection/mitigation from scour and erosion through integration of hydraulics and geotechnics.

Prospective authors are invited to submit abstracts for papers up to 300 words, which should include the title of the article, name(s) and affiliation(s) of the author(s), postal and electronic addresses, and at least three keywords. 

To submit your abstract, please fill out the submission form and upload your abstract on the webpage available here

Abstract Submission Due: August 31, 2019 

Notification of Acceptance: September 15, 2019

Manuscripts Due: December 15, 2019

Final Publication-Ready Manuscripts Due: April 30, 2020.

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BDS SE Forum 2019 - Seven days remaining to book!

Registration for the 2019 BDS SE Forum in Birmingham closes at midnight on Friday 30th August 2019

Delegate registrations have now passed 150 and continue to rise

Full details of the event can be found on the following link:  

Please note that individual invoices and receipts are available from your BDS SE Forum account (not members area).

Don’t miss out. Book now!

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Registration for the 14th Supervising Engineers' Forum.

Registration for the 14th BDS Supervising Engineers' Forum is open.

The Supervising Engineers' Forum will be held on Thursday 12th September 2019 at the National Conference Centre, Solihull near Birmingham.

For further details and to register your attendance at the event please visit the SE Forum page (link here)

The final closing date for registration is Friday 30th August 2019. Registrations after this date cannot be accepted.

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2019 BDS Prize - Young Persons Paper Competition

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 18th November 2019 at the Institution of Civil Engineers where the following prizes will be contested.

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BDS Photography Competition 2019

Submit your photographs without delay to be in with a chance of winning the 1st prize of £200; 2nd Prize of £100 or 3rd Prize of £50 and having your photographs published in Dams & Reservoirs and/or used on the BDS website.

Photographs to be submitted via the Member's Area of the BDS website (

The BDS photography competition will now be subjected to automatic picture/ file size validation checks as part of the submission process.  The files will be checked to ensure the picture width is greater than 3000pixels and the file size is no larger than 6MB - any photographs not meeting these requirements will be rejected.

Closing date for entries is 31st October 2019 and the winners will be announced at the BDS Prize Meeting on 18th November 2019

Full details can be found on the competition poster available here.

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Contact details for Media Enquiries

The contact details for any media enquiries to the BDS is


This email is monitored and a response to your enquiry will be made as soon as possible by one of our team.

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Toddbrook Reservoir Incident

I am sure that all of our members are concerned with the recent and on-going events at Toddbrook Reservoir. At the present time the dam has yet to be declared safe for the return of the residents.

The BDS and ICE has been giving interviews to the media in relation to the on-going incident. I am sure you can imagine and appreciate that the number of requests for interviews has far exceeded our capacity to respond.

The dam is a 24m high Pennine embankment dam dating from 1831. Works were carried out in the 1970’s to provide an auxiliary spillway on the embankment. We have no doubt that a formal investigation of the incident will be carried out on behalf of the Environment Agency in due course.

The BDS will do all that we can to help share the lessons to be learned from this incident and to encourage debate in due course.

In the meantime our thoughts are with the residents of Whaley Bridge.

Alan Warren
BDS Chair

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Notice of Elections of New Members to the ICE Reservoirs Committee

Applications are requested for forthcoming vacancies on the Reservoirs Committee. From the October 2019 meeting the Committee will be appointing 1 Supervising Engineer and 2 All Reservoirs Panel Engineers to the Committee.

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The BDS Needs You!

To assist in our search for a replacement/trainee webmaster we have produced information on the role which can be accessed here.  You do not need to be an IT specialist to fit the role. If you are interested please contact the BDS Chair ( no later than 11 October 2019.

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BDS Photography Competition – Requirements Update.

The 2019 BDS photography competition will now be subjected to automatic picture/ file size validation checks as part of the submission process.  The files will be checked to ensure the picture width is greater than 3000pixels and the file size is no larger than 6MB.

We are advertising this procedure now so that you have a chance to check and adjust your camera settings, thus ensuring any photographs you take in the intervening period will be compliant for submission in the 2019 photography competition. Happy snapping!!

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Upcoming Events

Please find below details of upcoming BDS events.

8th July 2019: 18:00 - 19.30:    Public Safety at UK Reservoirs,  Location: ICE London and four regional hubs (Warrington, Leeds, Cardiff and Glasgow), Presenters: Stephen Naylor and Bridget Ellerington (Environment Agency) and Helen Casselden and Douglas Malte-Keeble (United Utilities).

11th July 2019: 13.30 - 16.00:    Technical Site Visit to Thornton Reservoir, Location: Leicester


Further details on the events page here: 

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STOP PRESS! - The BDS Technical Site Visit to Thornton Reservoir is Postponed Until 11th July 2019

Due to unforeseen circumstances the site visit originally planned for Thursday 13th June 2019 has had to be postponed until Thursday 11th July 2019.


Revised details are on the events page of the BDS website: 

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BDS 14th Supervising Engineers' Forum - Call For Presentations

The BDS 14th Supervising Engineers' Forum will be held at the National Conference Centre (formerly known as the National Motorcycle Museum) in Solihull, near Birmingham, West Midlands, B92 0EJ on Thursday 12th September 2019.

The Forum will comprise four sessions including an Open Forum discussion.  The presentation topics are as follows, with a particular emphasis on the direct impact on, or experiences of, Supervising Engineers:

1)    Application of Legislation and use of Recent Guides,

2)    Assessment, Monitoring, Maintenance and Repairs,

3)    Incidents and lessons learned,

4)    The Panel Application Process, first time and re-appointments.

Synopses for presentations are requested relating to one of the above mentioned themes.  Alternatively, the final presentation may be submitted, if this is available.

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A New Flood Hydrology Road Map for the UK

The Environment Agency are seeking views on the future direction of flood hydrology research and would like your views on the draft material. Further details available here.


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Dams & Reservoirs Journal Special Edition for Spetember 2019 - Your Help Required

The September 2019 issue will be a special edition covering the digital agenda, including CFD and automation. During the most recent BDS Conference in Swansea, a workshop was held to discuss CFD modelling and its application to the dams’ industry. The workshop gave an opportunity for a number of CFD practitioners to demonstrate the state of play and encouraged discussion on the challenges in application of this tool to the dams’ industry. The majority of the attendees were not CFD practitioners and it was highlighted that there has been a lack of guidance for specifying and reviewing CFD modelling.

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EA Reservoir Safety Biennial Report: January 2017 to December 2018

The EA have published their Biennial reservoir safety report for the period 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2018 which sets out actions the Environment Agency has taken in its role as the reservoir regulator.

The report is available at the following link: 

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Incident Reporting At Scottish Reservoirs

Although the reporting of incidents at reservoirs is still undertaken on a voluntary basis in Scotland, as the relevant section of the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act is yet to be commenced, it was recognised that it would be good practice to encourage reservoir managers to report any incidents occurring at their reservoir.

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SEPA Guidance Documents For Completion Of Engineer Reports And Written Statements.

SEPA, in consultation with members of the Scottish reservoirs industry, have recently produced two guidance documents regarding the completion of Schedule 12 - Inspection Reports and Schedule 15 – Supervising Engineer Written Statements.

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2018 BDS Conference Proceedings – Discussions Notes

The 2018 BDS conference proceedings webpage has been updated to include the discussion notes for the six technical presentation sessions.

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ICOLD Technical Reports For Review

Several draft bulletins are currently being reviewed prior to finalisation and approval at this year’s ICOLD Annual Meeting.

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BDS Mentoring Scheme

This BDS initiative is aimed at helping BDS Members of any age or discipline to achieve their goals within the dams and reservoirs profession.

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ICOLD 2019 registration is now open!

Registration for ICOLD 2019 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is now open.
Visit the ICOLD 2019 website for up-to-date information and descriptions of what is included with your registration - you will be asked to confirm your attendance at social activities and certain sessions when you register.

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25th February 2019, Glasgow and Warrington Regional Hubs Panel Application Q&A Sessions

On 25th February 2019, there will be a Q&A session to discuss your questions on Panel Application prior to the evening meeting at the following Hubs:

Warrington Hub - open from 17:15 - with Keith Gardiner

Glasgow Hub – open from 17:30 – with Martin Hewitt


See 25th February BDS evening event regional hub details for further information in relation to registration for either of these sessions. Event listings available here.

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ICOLD Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams

The ICOLD Technical Committee on “Computational Aspects of Analysis and Design of Dams” announces the organisation of the 15th Benchmark Workshop on Numerical Analysis of Dams that will be held in Milan on 9 to 11 September 2019.

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ICOLD 2019 - 11th ICOLD European Club Symposium

Abstracts for the Symposium can be submitted online until 15 January 2019. Additionally, a two-day International Seminar on ‘Flood Management, spillway design and public safety’ will be held before the Symposium. Details on the program, abstract submission and International Seminar are given on the website.

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Tailings Dam - Technology Update

A paper “Tailings Dam Design - Technology Update” has been submitted by the ICOLD Technical Committee for Tailings Dams & Waste Lagoons.

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ICOLD Circular Letter, Request for Technical Questions Proposals

ICOLD has requested proposals for technical questions for the 27th Congress in 2021. Proposed topics should meet the present concerns. Further details can be found here. Please send any proposed questions to by 21 December 2018.

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FINAL REMINDER! ICOLD 2019 Abstracts for Technical Papers and Posters

Abstract submission deadline 19th October 2018.

Theme: Sustainable and Safe Dams Around the World.

Contribute your knowledge to 2019's leading conference on dams. We invite you to submit an abstract for a technical paper or poster to be presented at the International Commission on Large Dams, June 2019 in Ottawa, Canada.

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BDS Conference 2020 - We Need Your Help

We are looking for volunteers interested in assisting with the organisation of the next conference,


We are looking for proposals for a suitable venue.

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BDS Dissertation Prize 2018

In 2018 the British Dam Society will run its inaugural dissertation prize competition. This competition aims to capture, publicize and recognize some of the excellent ongoing research into dams by undergraduate and taught post-graduate students based in the UK.


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ICOLD 2019 - Sustainable and Safe Dams Around the World - Call for Abstracts and Technical Papers

Theme: Sustainable and Safe Dams Around the World

The theme will be addressed through technical papers and a poster session presented on the following topics.

1) Innovation

Recent advancements and techniques for investigation, design, construction, operation and maintenance of water or tailings dams and spillways.

2) Sustainable Development

Planning, design, construction, operation, decommissioning and closure management strategies for water resources or tailings dams (e.g. climate change, sedimentation, environmental protection, risk management).

3) Hazards

Design mitigation and management of hazards to water or tailings dams, appurtenant structures, spillways and reservoirs (e.g. floods, seismic, landslides).

4) Extreme Conditions

Management for water or tailings dams (e.g. permafrost and ice loading, arid/wet climates, geo-hazards).

The deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to 19th October 2018.

Young Professionals (age 35 and under) are especially encouraged to submit papers and posters for the Symposium.

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BDS Photography Competition 2018 is Now Open!

Submit your photographs without delay to be in with a chance of winning the 1st prize of £200; 2nd Prize of £100 or 3rd Prize of £50 and having your photographs published in Dams & Reservoirs and/or used on the BDS website.

Closing date for entries is 7th September 2018 and the winners will be announced at the BDS 20th Biennial Conference.

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The Reservoir Safety Advisory Group (RSAG) Has A New Name

The Reservoir Safety Advisory Group (RSAG) has a new name to better describe what the Group do – they are now called the Research Advisory Group for Reservoir Safety (RAGRS).

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Hydropower-Europe Project

ICOLD was successful in winning funds for this project with the aims to: (1) engage all relevant stakeholders; (2) address the challenges and prioritize needs (3) write and disseminate the research agenda and the technology road map up to 2050.

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EA Interpretation On Timing Of Inspections Under The Reservoirs Act 1975 (England)

The Environment Agency, as enforcement authority for England, has produced their interpretation of the required timing of service reservoir inspections and the 1st inspection after a section 8 inspection under the Reservoirs Act 1975 in England.

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Registration for the 20th Biennial BDS Conference Has Now Closed

Registration for the 20th Biennial BDS Conference in Swansea has now closed.

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BDS Conference 2018 - Five days remaining to book

Registration for the 2018 BDS Conference in Swansea closes at midnight on 31st July 2018!


Delegate registrations have now passed 200 and continue to rise! Some site visits and workshops are close to capacity so book now to avoid disappointment.

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BDS Conference 2018 - Ten days remaining to book

Registration for the 2018 BDS Conference in Swansea closes at midnight on 31st July 2018!

Delegate registrations have now passed 200 and continue to rise! Some site visits and workshops are close to capacity so book now to avoid disappointment.

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2018 BDS Conference, Swansea - Registration Closes in 20 Days!

Only 20 days left before registration for the 2018 BDS Conference in Swansea closes! It’s lining up to be a diverse, thought-provoking and stimulating programme with technical sessions, workshops and site visits; not forgetting plenty of networking opportunities. 

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2018 BDS Conference, Swansea - Book now!

Only 28 days left to register for the 2018 BDS Conference in Swansea! Delegate and exhibition registrations are going very well with good participation levels in all of the technical workshops and site visits.

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