Theme 5 - Risk and hazard assessment

Reservoir safety research advisory group (ReSRAG)

Research Theme: Risk and hazard assessment

ReSRAG Theme Lead: Alan Brown; Support: Mark Morris


Relevant ICOLD committees and UK representatives

Committee A: Computational Aspects of Analysis and Design of Dams – Loizos Pelecanos

Committee D: Concrete Dams – Malcolm Dunstan

Committee E: Embankment Dams – Rod Bridle / Alan Brown

Committee H: Dam Safety – Andy Hughes

Committee L: Tailings Dams and Waste Lagoons – Rafael Monroy

Committee S: Flood evaluation and Dam Safety

Committee LE: Levees – Jonathan Simm

EWG Overflowing and overtopping erosion – Mark Morris

Key UK guidance documents
  • Guide to risk assessment for reservoir safety management, Environment Agency (2013). Report SC090001
  • 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.
  • Managing risks to the public: appraisal guidance. HM Treasury (2005) 62pp.
  • Reducing risks, protecting people. Health & Safety Executive (2001). HSE, 74pp.
  • Risk and uncertainty in dam safety. Desmond ND Hartford, Gregory B Baecher. Institution of Civil Engineers (2004). ICE, 391pp.
UK papers Refer to the BDS bibliography for all reservoir-related technical papers
Key ICOLD bulletins

B167 - Regulation of Dam Safety: An overview of current practice world wide (pre-print)

B130 - Risk Assessment in Dam Safety Management. A Reconnaissance of Benefits. Methods and Current Applications (2005)

B059 - Dam safety ‐ Guidelines (1987)

B029 - Report from the Committee on Risks to Third Parties from Large Dams (1977)

Relevant BDS evening meetings 
  • Dam Safety: Risk Assessment and Governance - An Australian Perspective (2016)
  • A Guide to Risk Assessment for UK Reservoirs (2012)
  • Reservoir Risk Classification (2012)
Current UK research

No specific research activity at present.


Research to improve understanding of probability of failure is / should be embodied into any research into engineering performance.


Research to improve understanding of consequences / flood damaged is covered under the DEFRA / Environment Agency joint research programme.

Recent and current international research

Breach assessment

  • EA R&D FRS17071 - Scoping research to improve dam and levee breach prediction has just been completed due to be published imminently.
  • Laboratory and Field trials in Spain ongoing under direction of the EWG Overflowing and overtopping erosion working group.
Key international publications and guides

For additional references, refer to ICOLD bulletins