Autumn Update on Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management R&D Programme

Reservoir Safety Research and Development News.

The EA have published a brief update on current and planned research projects on reservoir safety by the Joint Defra / Environment Agency Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management (FCERM) R&D Programme.

Update available here or via website here.

Update Synopsis below.

Current research projects:

  • Guidance on reservoir conduits (including tunnels, culverts and pipes) - This project is developing guidance for reservoir owners and operators on the inspection, monitoring, investigation, maintenance and repair of reservoir conduits.
  • Investigating the structural safety of cracked concrete dams - The assessment of cracks in dams needs to consider the specifics of the design and construction of each dam and its environment. No two dams are the same, so no simple general rules can be defined.
  • Reservoir Safety Research Strategy - The Reservoir Safety Research Strategy published in 2008 is out-of-date and needs to be refreshed to reflect current priorities.
  • Guide to Drawdown Capacity for Reservoir Safety and Emergency Planning - The Environment Agency is currently working on a project looking at the optimum hydraulic capacity of low-level outlets for reservoirs.
  • Design, Operation & Adaptation of Reservoirs for Flood Storage - The Environment Agency is developing new guidance on reservoirs for flood storage, under its project "Design, Operation and Adaptation of Reservoirs for Flood Storage".

Planned Research

  • Performance of grass and soil in resisting erosion - One of the ways in which an embankment dam or flood embankment can fail is through failure of the grass cover and erosion of the embankment soil, whether via overflowing, overtopping or internal erosion. The rate of erosion - and hence the speed of failure and nature of any flood hydrograph generated by a release of stored water - depends on the performance of the grass cover and the soil erodibility.
  • Dambreak analysis - Understanding and predicting the process by which reservoirs may fail catastrophically is fundamental to how we manage the risk involved.   

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