Reservoirs Act

Applies to EnglandApplies to WalesApplies to Scotland

Title: Reservoirs Act

Category: England, Wales and Scotland

Date: 1975

Reference: * [Full text not available]

General Description:

The Reservoirs Act, which replaced earlier similar legislation, was set up to promote the safety of Large Raised Reservoirs. These are defined as retaining more than 25,000 m3. This is roughly a football pitch 14 ft deep. The volume is measured above the lowest point of naturally occurring ground level - i.e. the level to which the reservoir could drain if it were to fail. A hole in the ground doesn't count, unless the water could drain out by gravity.

The regulations require that any reservoir within the scope of the Act may only be designed, or construction supervised, by an Engineer on the appropriate panel. Following construction, another panel engineer must inspect the reservoir within three years. During the life of the structure, a member of the Supervising Engineers panel must be retained to carry out regular inspections, typically every year.

An engineer from the appropriate panel must inspect at periods to be advised, but not less than every 10 years or when requested by the Supervising Engineer. The Inspecting Engineer may instruct that work be carried out for the safety of the reservoir, and this instruction has the force of law.

The Panel Engineers are appointed by the Secretary of State for the DETR (or equivalent authorities in Wales and Scotland) on advice from the President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and are divided into the following categories:

  • All Reservoirs -may design, supervise and inspect any reservoir.
  • Non-Impounding Reservoirs - may design, supervise and inspect reservoirs that do not obstruct a watercourse.
  • Service Reservoirs - may design, supervise and inspect closed reservoirs, typically large water distribution structures.
  • Supervising Engineers - may carry out routine inspections of any reservoir, and request inspection by member of the appropriate panel if necessary.

Pertinence to Agriculture: On-farm Water Reservoirs, Water Storage, Water, Irrigation

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