With its new role, the EA is now responsible for implementing the Reservoirs Act 1975. Duties are to include the establishment and maintenance of a register of reservoirs and making sure that owners have an established system for reservoir inspection and maintenance.

The move comes about following the Water Act 2003 which, from next year, will require flood plans to be produced for specified reservoirs.

Enforcement of the Reservoirs Act had previously been the responsibility of 140 local authorities, said Ian Hope, EA technical manager for reservoir safety. ‘Understandably, application of the Act has varied around the country,’ he explained. ‘Transferring the role to a single body will enable a much more consistent approach to the regulatory role of reservoir safety.’