Four weeks until reservoir registration period closes

date02 September 2015

Only four weeks remain until the deadline for operators to register their reservoir with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), before the registration period ends on 30 September.

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Following the introduction of the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011, responsibility for reservoir safety will transfer from local authorities to SEPA during 2016, bringing regulation of all existing reservoirs with a capacity over 25,000 m3 under a single enforcement authority for Scotland.

To help support the change in regulation, SEPA issued existing operators with pre-populated, hard copy registration forms at the beginning of April, which should be completed and returned before the registration period ends on 30 September.

As registration is a legal requirement under the Act, any operators who fail to provide the relevant forms before the deadline will face a registration charge and possible enforcement action.

Les Watson, SEPA’s Flood Risk Manager, said:

With only four weeks remaining, it’s imperative that operators complete these forms as soon as possible, not only to avoid charges once the free registration period ends but to comply with their legal obligations.

“The registration data will allow us to issue a provisional risk designation for each reservoir, which may, in certain circumstances, allow a reduced level of inspection once the regulatory duties transfer from local authorities to SEPA.  This is a key aspect of the new, risk based approach to reservoir safety.”

Any operators who are unsure of what information is required, are advised to contact SEPA’s Reservoir Regulatory Unit via or 03000 99 66 99, prior to returning their registration form.

For further information about the 2011 Act and its implementation, visit or contact


Notes to editors

Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011

The Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011 will introduce a new risk based approach to inspections, with each reservoir designated as high, medium or low risk, dependent on the consequences of an uncontrolled release of water. The frequency of inspections will therefore focus more on the compliance of higher risk reservoirs, while ensuring all sites are properly maintained and secure.

The 2011 Act is being implemented through a phased approach and will introduce a number of key changes and benefits to the reservoir industry:

  • SEPA will become the national enforcement and regulatory body in Scotland, providing greater consistency for the industry.
  • Risk designations based on the consequences of an uncontrolled release of water will be assigned to each reservoir.
  • Different levels of statutory monitoring and inspection by engineers based on the risk designation, with low risk sites having less regulation than higher risk sites.
  • When the 2011 Act is fully implemented, the threshold for registration will reduce from 25,000 cubic metres to just 10,000 cubic metres capacity, bringing smaller reservoirs under regulation and providing a more comprehensive regulatory regime.
  • The Reservoir Manager or owner, referred to as the Undertaker in the 1975 Act, has a wider definition in the 2011 Act to include those that lease or use the water.

The registration of reservoirs with SEPA is only part of the phased change to regulatory responsibilities and local authorities meantime remain responsible for enforcement under the Reservoirs Act 1975.