Appoint a Supervising Engineer

If you own or manage a High-Risk Reservoir, you must appoint a Supervising Engineer unless the reservoir is being built or altered under the supervision of a Construction Engineer.

If your reservoir has not been designated as a High-Risk Reservoir, you do not need to appoint a Supervising Engineer, but you should consider taking advice from one to help look after your reservoir.

Find a full list of Supervising Engineers on

The engineer you choose does not have to live locally but you should discuss with them their availability and travel time to attend at short notice, such as during an emergency.

We advise that your Supervising Engineer is a different person from the Inspecting Engineer.

Your Supervising Engineer is required to be always available to provide advice. You should speak with the engineer to agree an alternative Supervising Engineer to cover periods of holiday or sickness.

If you do not appoint a Supervising Engineer for your High-Risk Reservoir, you are committing an offence. We may serve notice on you requiring you to make the proper appointment.

When you appoint a Supervising Engineer you must tell us about this within 28 days.

The role of your Supervising Engineer

When you appoint a Supervising Engineer, they will visit your reservoir usually once or twice per year to monitor its performance and draw to your attention any areas of concern. The frequency of visits is determined by the engineer, but they may be guided by recommendations given in the last inspection report.

Your Supervising Engineer will check that the recommendations made by the Construction Engineer or Inspecting Engineer about the things to watch for at your reservoir. They will check that you are acting on the engineers’ recommendations properly.

The engineer may ask you for information to help their understanding of your reservoir. You must provide the information they ask for and any facilities they need to do their job.

You can ask your Supervising Engineer for advice on monitoring, maintenance and record keeping. They may also advise on repairs and improvements. For matters which may have a larger impact on reservoir safety, they may take advice from a more experienced Inspecting Engineer.

Understand your Supervising Engineer’s statement

Every year you will receive a statement from your Supervising Engineer and the engineer will send a copy to us. This is called a Section 12 Statement and it is an important statutory document which you must keep safely for the lifetime of the reservoir. You may be asked for these statements by other engineers in the future.

If your engineer’s statement is not clear or you do not understand any part of it, you should talk with the engineer and seek written clarification.

Your Supervising Engineer will describe the general behaviour of the reservoir, any changes since the last visit and your actions to maintain it. The engineer will specifically comment on:

  • Measures to be taken in the interests of safety
  • Recommendations as to the maintenance of the reservoir
  • The matters to be watched by them as recommended by last Inspecting Engineer
  • The frequency and adequacy of your monitoring, surveillance and record keeping
  • Your flood plan for dealing with emergencies.

Your Supervising Engineer has a legal duty to tell you if you are not complying with the Reservoirs Act 1975 and to tell us about this. You should act immediately to improve the situation and make changes to your reservoir safety management plan to prevent it reoccurring. 

You should read our full guidance to understand your reservoir inspection report.

Directions for visual inspection under section 12(6)

Your Supervising Engineer has the authority to provide you with a written direction to undertake a visual inspection. This should be provided as a separate document but may be copied in the engineer’s statement. Their direction must include:

  • A description of what you must look for
  • The frequency of inspection, and
  • How you should report your findings.

You must carry out the direction and report what you find. A direction for visual inspection is copied to us and we may check compliance with it at any time.

Supervising Engineer’s recommendation for inspection

Your Supervising Engineer has the authority to recommend a full inspection. If they do, you must arrange an inspection of your reservoir immediately. The engineer will also notify us of their recommendation. We will check that the inspection is completed.


If you do not follow this guidance or the directions of your Supervising Engineer, you could be committing a criminal offence.

Last updated