Scottish Water to return reservoir to nature

Scottish Water has begun work to restore Munnoch Reservoir in Ayrshire to a more natural state and transform it into a flood prevention measure for the local area.

The disused reservoir, has not been used as a source of drinking water since 2008. However, because of the volume of water it currently holds, and its water catchment area, it is classified in the highest risk flood category under the Reservoirs (Scotland) Act 2011.

As a category A reservoir Scottish Water needs to carry out regular and expensive upgrades and maintenance of the 140-year-old dam. There are several contributing factors to the risk associated with reservoirs, and in this instance, even significant work would not remove the risks. Reducing the volume of the reservoir will remove it from the high-risk flood category.

Once the water level has been lowered, the area will be left to nature to rewild, offering potential biodiversity benefits and more opportunity for the public to enjoy the space.

Georgina Reid, Scottish Water’s corporate affairs manager in the west, said: “This is the best decision for Munnoch Reservoir and the local communities.

“The costs of maintaining the reservoir now, and in the future, isn’t value for money for our customers and we can now invest that elsewhere.

“We hope this will unlock opportunities to improve the biodiversity of the area and it becomes a green space the public can more easily access and enjoy.”

Designers have worked hard to create a reduced-size reservoir that will maintain the flood protection offered by the existing reservoir, collecting excess run-off that potentially could otherwise cause flooding further downstream.

Work is set to be carried out by Scottish Water’s alliance partners George Leslie Ltd.

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