£4.6m flood work to protect 'a few' Dartmoor homes

Kennick reservoir
Image caption Only a few properties would be affected if Kennick reservoir flooded

A £4.6m project is underway on Dartmoor to protect "a few properties" where the risk of serious flooding is a "one-in-10,000-year event".

South West Water said it was required by law to carry out the work at Kennick, Tottiford and Trenchford reservoirs near Bovey Tracy.

Drainage channels will be enlarged to cope with "severe storm conditions".

It is expected to take nearly two years and will cause some footpath and road closures.

Mike Court, the project manager, said the risk of flooding was calculated as "an in excess of one-in-10,000-year event".

"The Boscastle flooding [in Cornwall in 2004] was a one-in-400-year event," he said. "It's something which may or may not happen - we just can't tell.

"There are a few properties downstream which would be affected but it's fairly minimal compared to some catchments where you would have literally hundreds, if not thousands of properties which could be affected."

Public access

Mr Court also said a major flood could be "spectacular" and would damage Dartmoor's environment.

South West Water said it was obliged to carry out the work under the Reservoirs Safety Act 1975, which was amended by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs last year.

The reservoirs, which date from the mid 19th and early 20th Centuries, are all separated by dams.

The work will involve increasing the capacity of the dam "spillways", channels designed to drain away excess water.

The reservoirs are popular with walkers and anglers.

South West Water said public access would continue "as far as possible" but some footpath and road closures would be necessary.

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