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Identifying risk from reservoir flooding

The Environment Agency is responsible for 2,000 reservoirs in England and Wales and enforces the Reservoirs Act 1975. 


The safety of reservoirs is the responsibility of the reservoir’s owners or operators, although the Environment Agency is responsible for enforcing the safety legislation.

The key roles of the Environment Agency in regards to reservoirs are:

  • surveillance - maintaining a register of reservoirs for England and Wales
  • enforcement - achieving compliance with the legislation

Our key roles for reservoirs

We are responsible for coordinating emergency plans for reservoir flooding and making sure communities are well prepared. We work with emergency services, reservoir operators and the Environment Agency to do so.

The Environment Agency’s flood risk maps show areas that are at risk from reservoir flooding. The risk of flooding from reservoirs anywhere in the country depends on the unlikely but possibly damaging failure of dams to reservoirs.

The Environment Agency’s reservoir flood risk map should not raise concern, but should make you think about what you might do if an emergency did happen and your home or workplace was at risk.

If you have a general enquiry on reservoir safety you can email reservoirs@environment-agency.gov.uk or call the Environment Agency on 08708 506 506.

In an emergency call their hotline on 0800 80 70 60.