On This Day in History – Toddbrook Reservoir

The media last week was full of dramatic images of flooding in London: the disruption to Tube stations and two major hospitals causing particular concern.  But, exactly two years ago, we were facing an even more serious flooding incident here in the High Peak.

Sustained rainfall through late July 2019 had filled Toddbrook Reservoir to overflowing, and saturated the surrounding moorland.  A heavy downpour on 31st July was the final straw and, on the morning of 1st August, local people noticed that the spillway of the dam was damaged.  A major incident was declared and residents of Whaley Bridge were evacuated whilst the Emergency Services, aided by the RAF, raced to empty the reservoir whilst simultaneously shoring up the dam.  The rain continued to frustrate their efforts but, by 6th August, water levels had been reduced sufficiently to start letting residents return to their homes.

Two separate inquiries followed, to investigate the root causes of the failure: you can see a summary of these here.  As I write, work has not yet begun on rebuilding the dam; but it is hoped that the reservoir will be open to the public again in 2024.

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