Maps showing areas that could flood have now been published online by the Environment Agency to help authorities and emergency services plan for the risk of flooding in the unlikely event that a reservoir failed.
Dam breach and flood modelling techniques were used to produce a national set of reservoir flood maps for England and Wales. The maps were created showing how far flood water would spread from the reservoir in a worst case scenario so that emergency services and councils have all the information they need to put plans in place to protect people. The maps are now available on the Environment Agency website.
Environment minister Richard Benyon said: “While the risk of a reservoir failure is extremely low the safety of the public must remain our top priority and where there is even a small risk we need to make sure that we are prepared.
“These reservoir flood maps will help ensure that authorities and emergency services know what to do to reduce the possibility of water escaping from a reservoir and how to reduce damage and danger if a reservoir does fail.”
Welsh minister for environment sustainability and housing Jane Davidson said: “Making the outline maps accessible on the Environment Agency’s web pages is important, not only to help raise the public’s awareness of wider flood risk information but also to spell out what actions they should take in the unlikely event of a reservoir emergency.”
This work has been carried out following recommendations from Sir Michael Pitt in his review into the flooding of 2007. Pitt recommended that outline reservoir flood maps should be made available to the public online in the context of wider flood risk information.
The likelihood of reservoir flooding is much lower than other forms of flooding. Current reservoir regulation, which has been further enhanced by the Flood and Water Management Act, aims to make sure that all reservoirs are properly maintained and monitored in order to detect and repair any problem.