As you may well have heard, at the start of August, the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge was evacuated amid fears that the local dam could collapse after being seriously damaged by floodwaters.
The dam on the Toddbrook Reservoir holds back 300 million gallons of water and as a result of severe rainfall concrete panels on one side partially collapsed, giving rise to concerns that the town could be levelled if the dam went.
And now, the Canal and River Trust has said that repairs to the dam itself could take up to three years to complete, the BBC reports. Emergency repairs have already been undertaken, assisted by the RAF, to secure it, with the water level being kept low by pumps.
Sean McGinley, Canal and River Trust regional director, explained that it’s not yet known as to whether the dam will need to be completely rebuilt or if a large-scale repair will be required.
“I would imagine we’d be here anywhere between 18 months and three years, but it’s needed. We need to get this reservoir back up and working,” he went on to say. “It’s not an ideal situation not to have water in this reservoir, but we can manage in those situations, and canal boating can carry on. The details of what we find out are going to be shared amongst many reservoir engineers around the country.”
Prevention is always better than cure and this news may well inspire you to take a look at the concrete structures and systems you have under your management to see if work could be done to future-proof them – important in the face of climate change and extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly likely, taking their toll on infrastructure all over the UK.
Enlisting the services of structural strengthening contractors could prove particularly useful in this regard. They make use of Fibrwrap advanced composite systems for carbon fibre strengthening, which can enhance the structural capacity of existing structural elements that need further strengthening, rehabilitation and repair.
This can include seismic retrofit, structural preservation, pipe rehabilitation, environmental protection, corrosion-related repair, blast mitigation and more.
Fibrwrap systems can also be installed in severely aggressive environments, protecting them from erosion and prevent loss of strength as a result of corrosion, helping to extend the life of the structure in question.
One of the government’s top priorities these days is increasing infrastructure’s resilience to the impacts of climate change, helping to protect the UK’s economy and ensuring its future growth.
It could prove useful to read the Climate Resilient Infrastructure: Preparing for a Changing Climate publication, outlining the importance of adapting infrastructure to the impacts of climate change, the possible opportunities for business and the challenges and barriers that will have to be overcome.