Reservoir registration now open

date01 April 2015

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is reminding all reservoir managers of the importance of early sign up as the six month free registration period officially opens today.

Problem with ShowGallery

Under current legislation, local authorities are the lead for regulating reservoir safety, however following the introduction of the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011, the responsibility will transfer to SEPA during 2016. The 2011 Act aims to bring regulation of all existing reservoirs over 25,000 m3 capacity under a single enforcement authority for Scotland, whilst providing a more proportionate, risk based inspection regime.

To support reservoir managers in completing the registration process, SEPA has sent existing operators pre-populated, hard copy registration forms, which should be completed and returned as soon as possible, within the six month registration period.

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

We continue to make managers within the industry aware of the change in regulation, alongside our counterparts in each local authority to ensure that the transition takes place as smoothly as possible ahead of 2016.

“It’s important to remember that it is the responsibility of reservoir managers to return their registration documents within the six month period. Failure to do so could result in charges being imposed for registration once the period ends or potentially enforcement action if no registration is made.”

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.