panoramic view of dam and reservoirs

Dams and reservoirs

Our independent experts have global experience in the design, operation and management of reservoirs and dams. Our engineers, asset management specialists, dam break and sedimentation modellers develop integrated solutions to the most complex dam and reservoir related challenges.

We provide thoughtful advice and guidance in all areas concerning the safety of dams and reservoirs: from inspections by qualified Panel Engineers, production of Reservoir Safety Cases, Reservoir Safety Management Plans and sediment management strategies to risk assessments for reservoirs and dams, early warning systems and flood mapping. We help reservoir owners to save money while keeping their assets safe, and collaborate on some of the most nationally significant dams and reservoirs projects worldwide.

Dam inspection and safety assessments

We carry out dam inspection and safety assessments, both internationally and for UK reservoirs, in accordance with the Reservoirs Act 1975 and the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011. Our engineers are qualified as Supervising Panel Engineers and All Reservoirs Panel Engineers, and provide support to water and power companies, government regulators and charities, as well as private owners.

For clients that appoint our reservoir Supervising Engineers, we provide a 24-hour reservoir safety emergency advice and response service, as well as advice on all aspects of dam safety for reservoirs of any size.

Reservoir Safety Case

The foundation stone of safe and responsible reservoir management, the Reservoir Safety Case (RSC) document describes the key safety elements of the design and operation, including outputs from flood studies and seismic studies, results of a detailed quantitative risk assessment to identify failure modes, and justification that risks are as low as reasonably practical (ALARP). It explicitly identifies the structures, systems and components, and the acceptable limits of safe operation for the dam. Working seamlessly with specialist partners KGAL for input on gates and mechanical and electrical systems, you can rely on us to produce comprehensive Reservoir Safety Case documents.

Reservoir risk assessments

We developed the UK's national guidance on risk assessment for reservoir safety, known colloquially as RARS. Our team can use RARS, or bespoke risk assessments methods, to assess the risk profile across an entire reservoir portfolio, and identify appropriate asset management options to help reduce this risk to a level that is ‘as low as reasonably practicable’ (ALARP). Risk assessment is a powerful tool to help understand and quantify your risk, and to justify proportionate investment to manage this.

Reservoir hydrology, sedimentation and scour

What comes in to, and what goes out of your reservoir? Our specialist expertise in extreme hydrology, reservoir sedimentation and scour helps clients to understand all aspects for their reservoir, and how it might change over time. We deliver reservoir and sediment management and maintenance strategies that will prolong dam and hydropower asset life and maximise our client’s return on investment.

Developing strategies to manage sediment

view of Nurek reservoir sedimentation

We helped to put strategies in place to manage sediment in the reservoir at the Nurek dam - a national significant hydropower plant in Tajikistan.

Smart dam monitoring and management

Data is everywhere. Turning this into useful, actionable information to help asset management is less common, but vital. With our constant horizon scanning for new technologies, combined with our asset specialist expertise we build practical software systems like DAMSAT that can harness data from satellites, weather forecasts, terrestrial sensors and even sub-surface monitoring to provide asset behaviour insights that can make a difference to you. Use of domain specialists like dam engineers, and use of artificial intelligence (AI) engines where appropriate gives a first level of analysis to assist you. Talk to us about your challenges and see what a DAMSAT system tailored to your specific needs can do for your resource planning and maintenance budgets.

Dam breach and flood inundation modelling

Dam failures are fortunately rare, but, when they do occur they can cause mass loss of life and have catastrophic environmental and financial consequences. The likelihood of a dam failure can be minimised by rigorously improving safety at each point of the dam lifecycle.

Having led the dam breach modelling science globally for the last 20+ years, we work with responsible dam owners to assess and manage this significant risk (by reducing both the probability and consequence) and to protect communities downstream of the dam. We can:

  • Use our advanced breach modelling tool, EMBREA, to predict how the breach will grow through an embankment and how quickly the water will be released downstream
  • Map the route and depth of the flood waters using the most appropriate flood spreading software for your use case (1D, integrated 1D-2D, 2D).
  • Produce risk assessments and bespoke emergency management plans outlining actions to be taken by the different responders should a dam breach emergency occur.
  • Model potential loss of life, by assessing the time available to evacuate those at risk and identify safe evacuation routes enabling evacuees to reach refuges.

Want to know more?

Further information

Headshot of Craig Goff
Craig Goff
Technical Director
+44 (0)1491 822899
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