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Dam risk surveys likely to be extended

The Environment Agency this week said it is likely to extend its reservoir risk assessment programme after awarding a contract covering 2,092 registered structures.

The work is expected to be extended when the Floods & Water Management Bill, now at its draft stage, becomes law.

Last week the Agency awarded the contract to Capita Symonds, Mott MacDonald, Royal Haskoning and JBA Consulting. They will assess failure risks posed by all 2,092 reservoirs currently registered in England and Wales.

Capita has brought in Scott Wilson as its own subconsultant.

Extending the register

But the draft Bill, which incorporates recommendations from the Pitt Review into the summer 2007 floods, proposes extending the register to include reservoirs with a minimum capacity of 10,000m³ of water. Minimum capacity at present is 25,000m³ so if the Bill is adopted, the number of registered reservoirs would more than treble to about 7,000.

“When the Bill goes through we are likely to consider rolling the work out across any new reservoirs added to the register.”

Environment Agency spokesman

“This current contract is looking at the 2,092 reservoirs we have on the register,” said an Agency spokesman. “But when the Bill goes through we are likely to consider rolling that work out across any new reservoirs added to the register.”

The Agency’s budget for reservoir inundation mapping (RIM) for 2009 to 2010 is £1.8M.

Phase one of the RIM project involves broad scale mapping of reservoirs to assess their general level of risk. Phase two involves a more detailed assessment of the flood risk from a dam failure for around 330 of the 1,000 highest risk reservoirs.

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