Event archive

Event Organiser: ICE

Reservoir Safety and the Toddbrook Incident, Pontefract

  • Lecture
  • Pontefract
  • 28 September 2021
  • 10:30 - 13:00
Reservoir Safety and the Toddbrook Incident, Pontefract

About this event

In August 2019, prolonged heavy rainfall caused serious damage to the spillway at Toddbrook reservoir in Whaley Bridge. A large part of the town had to be evacuated and a fast response by the reservoir’s owner (the Canal and River Trust), the Environment Agency, emergency services and others in a coordinated action prevented a disastrous dam failure.

In September 2019 the Secretary of State announced an independent review of the incident and Professor David Balmforth was appointed to lead it. That review, in two parts, is now complete, and the lessons learned from the incident and recommendations for strengthening the current reservoir safety regime have now been published.

After an introduction that sets out the technical and administrative circumstances of the failure, and a summary of the content of the reports, David Balmforth will explain how he went about the review, how he came to his findings, and what this means for the future of the reservoirs’ sector in England and Wales.


Tea and coffee will be served at registration for the meeting, at no charge to members. Following the meeting a sandwich lunch will be served (see filling choices), to be ordered in advance when booking for the meeting and paid in cash at registration. The cost is £10 per person and £4 for a side order of bowl of chips. Bar drinks at lunch including teas or coffees to be purchased separately.

If you book lunch but later you find that you are unable to attend, provided that you notify the Hon Sec not less than two working days beforehand you will not be charged. If you cancel after that we will always endeavour to make an adjustment with the venue so that you may not have to pay, but we reserve the right to request reimbursement from you if that isn’t possible.

Covid Precautions

The hotel is and expects to remain a “covid secure” venue. Although social distancing is no longer required, strict hygiene arrangements including the provision of hand sanitisers are in place. Our room is spacious and additional ventilation if needed can be realised through the conservatory and its doors opening out onto hotel grounds. Face coverings will not be mandatory. Exact money please for your lunch, no change will be given.


If you wish to attend this meeting, please advise the Hon Secretary not later than 11.00 on Thursday 23 September 2021 giving the information on the booking form, either by e-mail to [email protected], or by post to: Hugh Allan, 8 West End Close, Horsforth, Leeds LS18 5JN.

Note: RICE meetings are open to all members of ICE and to members of other organisations with whom the ICE has a reciprocal arrangement, such as IET and IMechE. Additionally, RICE members may invite a guest to a RICE ordinary meeting, two times in a year.

Please note we hope to offer this event virtually. If this is possible the link will be forwarded to those who register


10.30 Registration, coffee & tea service
11.00 RICE Annual General Meeting
11.30 Presentation by Prof David Balmforth, followed by questions and discussion
13.00 Bar open and sandwich lunch service


Professor David Balmforth

Professor Balmforth is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, a Past President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a former non-executive Director of CIRIA. He has over 40 years’ experience in drainage and flood risk management, initially in academia at Sheffield then later with consultant MWH (now Stantec) as a Technical Director, where inter alia he oversaw a large wastewater programme in the Thames region, largely focused on the alleviation of sewer flooding.

He is an advisor to governments on flood risk management and has served and chaired numerous industry working panels. From 2013 to 2019 he was chair of the ICE’s Reservoirs Committee which qualifies Reservoir Engineers on behalf of the member states of the UK. He was a Specialist Advisor to the EFRA Select Committee during their Inquiry into the Future of Flood Prevention in 2016, a member of Scientific Advisory Group to the National Flood Resilience Review and a member of the Government Review (Pitt Review) of the 2007 Summer Floods. David is a former Editor in Chief of the Journal of Flood Risk Management and has published over 50 journal papers, conference papers and design guides. He is currently advising the Singapore Government on Coastal Protection and is a member of the National Infrastructure Commission’s Expert Panel on Climate Resilience.

Event venue

Rogerthorpe Manor Hotel
Pontefract WF9 1AB
United Kingdom

For more information please contact:

Joanne Topping

e: [email protected]