Menu

Reservoir Safety Guidance

The safety of reservoirs is of paramount importance to the British Dam Society and is a key driving force behind many of the meetings, events and research undertaken by the society. This part of the website contains links and information relating to:


 

Summary of UK Reservoir Legislation

Summaries of reservoir legislation (one for each of the countries that make up the UK) can be found here:
 
 

 

Reservoir Operation and Management – A Guidance Note for Owners

Reservoirs are man-made lakes, formed by constructing one or more dam structures. Dams are typically formed by embankments made of compacted earth. Reservoirs provide a wide range of benefits to their owners and form part of our environment and heritage. In the UK there are many thousands of reservoirs. Similarly, there are thousands of reservoir owners.

Without some care and maintenance, dams deteriorate over time. Large reservoirs are regulated to ensure that suitable provisions are made to keep these dams adequately safe from a failure that might cause a flood; endangering public and property. However, several small reservoirs in the UK have breached in recent times but fortunately there has been no loss of life from reservoir-related flooding for nearly 100 years, largely due to better knowledge and understanding.

The British Dam Society recognises that not all reservoir owners have detailed knowledge and resources for the operation and maintenance of dams that they own. Some basic guidance on reservoir safety and operation is available here. Owner's Guidance Document


 

Lessons Learned From Historical Dam Incidents

The reports offer new insights and information on lessons learned from past dam incidents, near misses and failures, and good practice to be adopted by the reservoir industry to avoid serious incidents in the future.

Lessons from Historical Dam Incidents - Project Summary
Lessons from Historical Dam Incidents - Project Report

 

The reports looks at how incidents have been managed, including the role of owners and panel engineers. The significance of drawdown rates (drawing water down rapidly to prevent the dam from overtopping) and other emergency provisions for dam incidents such as evacuation planning are discussed. Some examples of incident management are described.

Annual Post Incident Reports

2018 Report
2017 Report
2016 Report
2015 Report
2014 Report
2013 Report
2012 Report
2011 Report
2010 Report
2009 Report
2008 Report
2007 Report
 

Flood Plans

Originally in fulfillment of a commitment made in response to the Pitt Review, the UK Government has completed inundation (flood) mapping of all regulated reservoirs, in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Further information in relation to reservoir flooding can be found on the following websites:

Advice on what to do and how to prepare for a reservoir emergency can be found on the following websites:

It is good practice for reservoir owners to prepare on-site emergency plans. On-site emergency plans detail how reservoir owners or those responsible for the operation of a reservoir will respond to a potential or real reservoir failure.

Link to further information on on-site plans: https://www.gov.uk/reservoirs-a-guide-for-owners-and-operators#prepare-a-reservoir-flood-plan-and-flood-map


Recommended Guidance Documents

An initial list of guidance documents covering a range of topics is given below.

Guide to drawdown capacity for reservoir safety and emergency planning - Environment Agency (2017) - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-drawdown-capacity-for-reservoir-safety-and-emergency-planning.

A Guide to the Reservoirs Act 1975: 2nd Edition. Institution of Civil Engineers (2014). Thomas Telford, London. 171pp.

Register of British dams. Report BR 261, 55pp. Building Research Establishment (1994).

An engineering guide to seismic risk to dams in the United Kingdom. Charles J A, Abbiss C P, Gosschalk E M and Hinks J L (1991). BRE Report BR 210, 64pp.

Investigating embankment dams: a guide to the identification and repair of defects. Charles J A, Tedd P, Hughes A K and Lovenbury H T (1996). BRE Report BR 303, 81pp.

Bibliography of British dams. Charles J A and Tedd P [compilers] (1996). Building Research Establishment, Report BR 310, 50pp.

Design of flood storage reservoirs. Hall M J, Hockin D L and Ellis J B (1992). CIRIA and Butterworth & Heineman.

Performance of blockwork and slabbing protection for dam faces. Herbert D M, Lovenbury H T, Allsop N W H and Reader R A (1995).. HR Wallingford, Report SR 345 49pp.

Design of reinforced grass waterways. Hewlett H W M, Boorman L A and Bramley M E (1987). CIRIA, Report 116, 115pp.

Floods and reservoir safety: 4th edition. Institution of Civil Engineers (2015). ICE Publishing, 80pp.

An application note to An engineering guide to seismic risk to dams in the United Kingdom. Institution of Civil Engineers (1998). ICE, 40pp.

An engineering guide to the safety of embankment dams in the United Kingdom. Johnston T A, Millmore J P, Charles J A and Tedd P (1999). Second edition. BRE Report BR 363, 102pp.

Small embankment reservoirs. Kennard M F, Hoskins C G and Fletcher M (1996).. CIRIA Report 161, 445pp.

Engineering guide to the safety of concrete and masonry dam structures in the UK. Kennard M F, Owens C L and Reader R A (1996). CIRIA Report 148, 172pp.

Valves, pipework and associated equipment in dams guide to condition assessment. Reader R A, Kennard M F and Hay J (1997). CIRIA Report 170, 160pp.

Reservoir dams: wave conditions, wave overtopping and slab protection. Yarde A J, Banyard L S and Allsop N W H (1996). HR Wallingford Report SR 459, 27pp.

Reservoir discharges: consents, permits and risk assessments. Environment Agency (2018) https://www.gov.uk/guidance/reservoir-discharges-consents-permits-and-risk-assessments. 

Guide to risk assessment for reservoir safety management. Environment Agency (2013) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guide-to-risk-assessment-for-reservoir-safety-management

World Declaration on Dam Safety. ICOLD (2019) available here

Blockage management guide (SC110005/R1). Environment Agency (2019) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/blockage-management-guide

Culvert, screen and outfall manual (C786). Benn J, Kitchen A, Kirby A, Fosbeary C, Faulkner D, Latham D, Hemsworth M (2019). CIRIA London. Report C786. https://www.ciria.org/ItemDetail?iProductCode=C786F&Category=FREEPUBS

Reservoir Management. Edited by A. Pepper. Institution of Civil Engineers (2019). ICE, 331pp.

Grouting for reservoir dams - a guide to good practice (C774). Hughes A K, Bruggemann D A, Kettle C (2018). Report C774. CIRIA London.

Design, operation and adaptation of reservoirs for flood storage. Environment Agency (2016) http://evidence.environment-agency.gov.uk/FCERM/Libraries/FCERM_Project_Documents/sc120001_report.sflb.ashx

Operational Safety of Dams and Reservoirs: Understanding the reliability of flow-control systems. Desmond ND Hartford, Gregory B Baecher, P Andy Zielinski, Robert C Patev, Romanas Ascila and Karl Rytters. Institution of Civil Engineers (2016). ICE, 400pp.

Dam and reservoir conduits. Inspection, monitoring, maintenance and repair (C743). Hughes A K, Bruggemann D A, Gardiner K D, Blower T, Deane M, Nash D F T (2015). Report C743. CIRIA London.

Application of Eurocode 7 to the design of flood embankments (C749). Pickles A. et al (2014). Report C749. CIRIA London.

Lessons from incidents at dams and reservoirs - an engineering guide (SP167). Charles J A, Tedd P, Warren A L (2014). Report SP167. CIRIA London.

Guidance for the design and maintenance of stepped masonry spillways. Environment Agency (2010) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/290519/scho1010btdg-e-e.pdf

Treated Water Storage Assets: Good Practice for Operation and Management. Version 2, reference number - 19/RG/05/50, UKWIR (2019)

Public Access to Open Reservoirs. Water UK Occasional Guidance Note, July 2009

The guides listed above can be obtained from:

BRE Guides
IHS Rapidoc (BRE Press),
Willoughby Road,
Bracknell,
Berks.
RG12 8FB
Tel: 01344 328038
Fax: 01344 328005
Email: brepress@ihs.com
Website: http://www.BREbookshop.com

CIRIA Guides
Classic House
174-180 Old Street
London
EC1V 9BP
Website: https://www.ciria.org/CIRIA/Resources
Email: enquiries@ciria.org.uk

ICE Publishing
One Great George Street
London
SW1P 3AA
Web site: www.icebookshop.com
Virtual Library: www.icevirtuallibrary.com/

HR Wallingford
Howbery Park
Wallingford
Oxfordshire
OX10 8BA
Tel: 01491 835383
Email: info@hrwallingford.co.uk
Web site: www.hrwallingford.co.uk


Historical Guidance Documents

The BDS is hosting the following reports on their website at the request of Defra to ensure they are freely available to those involved in dams and reservoirs.

In some cases the reports will be out of date or be superseded by later research and as such care should be taken when using the information contained in these documents

Historical Guidance Documents
DEFRA - Supplement to report by Sir David Cox on Review of methodology for extrapolation of extreme rainfall in FEH -2003
DEFRA - Report on comments on 10,000 year return period rainfall posed by DEFRA, RSWG and KBR - Cox
DETR - Sedimentation in storage reservoirs Final report - 2001
DEFRA - Climate change impacts on the safety of British Reservoirs Final report - 2001
DETR - Climate change impacts on the safety of British Reservoirs advice note re rainfall induced instability -2003
DEFRA – Task B - Early detection of internal erosion – Volume 1 of 2 - 2003
DEFRA - Revised Guidance for Panel Engineers on FEH - 2004
Environment Agency - Post incident reporting system for UK dams Final report - 2007
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 1 of 3 Main report - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 2 of 3 Appendices A-H - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 2 of 3 Appendices J & K - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 1 Embedded figures - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 2 Embedded figures - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 1 Section 7 Excel figures - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 1 & 2 Excel figures - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 2 Bibliography - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 3 Appendix J - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration Volume 3 Appendix k - 2002
DEFRA Floods and Reservoir safety integration - Files comprising the this report – 2002
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 1 of 3 Main Guide – 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 1 – Appendix A to D - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 2 – Appendix E - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 2 – Appendix F - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Appendix G - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 2 – Appendix H - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 2 – Appendix J & K - 2006
DEFRA Engineering Guide to Emergency Planning for UK reservoirs - Volume 3 - Completed examples - 2006
DEFRA Note of the anticipated application of the Direction making power
DEFRA Supplement No 1 to interim guide to quantitative risk assessment for UK reservoirs - 2006
DEFRA Real time monitoring Rev DRAFT 2.01 2007
DEFRA Task B Early detection of internal erosion - Volume 2 of 2 - 2003
DEFRA Task B Early detection of internal erosion - Annex -2003
DEFRA Early detection of internal erosion Rev DRAFT 2.01 2007
A Guide to the Reservoirs Act 1975. Institution of Civil Engineers (2000). Thomas Telford, London. 209pp.
Floods and reservoir safety: 3rd edition. Institution of Civil Engineers (1996). Thomas Telford, 63pp.
Interim guide to quantitative risk assessment for UK reservoirs. Brown AJ and Gosden JD (2004). Thomas Telford, 161pp.
Underground service reservoirs: waterproofing and repair manual (R138). Johnson R A (1996). Report SP167. CIRIA London.
Guide to analysis of open channel spillway flows. Ellis J R (1989). CIRIA, Report TN 134
Risk management for UK reservoirs. Hughes A K, Hewlett H W M, Morris M, Sayers P, Moffat A I B, Harding A and Tedd P (2000b). Report C542. CIRIA, London

 



International Publications

International

International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD) – Publications: https://www.icold-cigb.org/GB/publications/publications.asp

Members of BDS are automatically members of ICOLD, as BDS forms the UK section of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).  A number of documents on the ICOLD website are freely available to BDS members, but a registration process is required. To register on the ICOLD website BDS members must first obtain the UK code from the BDS Technical Secretary.  With that code an ICOLD individual login and password will be set up, enabling copies of Proceedings (see below) to be ordered and Technical Bulletins (see below) to be downloaded.

USA

US Bureau of Reclamation - Manuals and Standards: https://www.usbr.gov/tsc/techreferences/mands/mands.html

US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) Publications - Engineer Manuals: https://www.publications.usace.army.mil/USACE-Publications/Engineer-Manuals/u43544q/64616D/

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - Dam Safety Publications & Resources: https://www.fema.gov/dam-safety-publications-resources

Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO) - Resource Center: https://damsafety.org/resource-center

Canada

Canadian Dam Association (CDA) – Dam Safety Publications: http://www.imis100ca1.ca/cda/

Australia

Australian National Committee for Large Dams (ANCOLD) – Guidelines (hard copies): http://www.ancold.org.au/?page_id=334

South Africa

South African National committee For Large Dams (SANCOLD) – List of publications: http://www.sancold.org.za/index.php/publications