Water flow ‘reduced considerably’ at reservoir feared to be near collapse

Water flowing into a damaged reservoir feared to be on the edge of collapse has been "reduced considerably" after efforts by the military and emergency services.

Thousands of people were evacuated after Toddbrook Reservoir – which contains around 1.3 million tonnes of water – threatened to flood the Derbyshire town of Whaley Bridge.

But an RAF Chinook and firefighters using high-volume pumps appear to have stabilised the "unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation" caused by heavy rain.

Images taken early on Friday morning show the helicopter dropping one-ton sandbags to bolster the damaged part of the structure.

Julie Sharman, chief operating officer of the Canal and River Trust which runs the reservoir, said securing the dam and lowering water levels further was the main priority.

WEATHER Rain Reservoir
(PA Graphics)

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The operation loading the front face of the dam using the Chinook helicopter is in process and is going to go on for most of the day here.

"Additional pumping is going in and the good news is that the inflow to the reservoir has reduced considerably.

"We've lowered the level of the water in the reservoir by 200mm. We are obviously aiming to get that down considerably more."

Police have also closed railway lines in the Whaley Bridge area over the flood fears.

Officers in #WhaleyBridge have been assisted overnight by firefighters, @EnvAgency, ambulance services, local councils and emergency planning staff, as well as #RAF crews who used a #Chinook helicopter to move over 50 tonnes of aggregate to the reservoir wall to reinforce it. pic.twitter.com/ph5xXPLbx5

— Derbyshire Police (@DerbysPolice) August 2, 2019

The annual inspection of the structure by a senior engineer was last November, said Richard Parry, chief executive of the Canal and River Trust.

After thousands spent the night away from their homes, police said a timescale for evacuees returning is "currently unknown".

Carolyn Whittle, who lives in Meadowfield, on the hillside in Whaley Bridge, said: "I've lived in Whaley (Bridge) for the best part of 45 years, and I've never seen water flood over the dam like that, ever, nor thought that we could possibly be at risk in this way."

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RAF drafted in as thousands evacuated
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RAF drafted in as thousands evacuated
RAF drafted in as thousands evacuated due to reservoir collapse fears
An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook reservoir - PA
Personnel use a Royal Air Force (RAF) Chinook helicopter to lower bags of aggregate to reinforce the damaged spillway of the Toddbrook Reservoir dam above the town of Whaley Bridge in northern England on August 2, 2019. - Emergency services continued work to repair a damaged dam they fear could collapse as hundreds of evacuated residents of the northern town of Whaley Bridge spent the night away from home. (Photo by Roland HARRISON / AFP) (Photo credit should read ROLAND HARRISON/AFP/Getty Images)
An RAF Chinook helicopter flies in sandbags to help repair the dam at Toddbrook reservoir near the village of Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire after it was damaged by heavy rainfall. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday August 2, 2019. See PA story WEATHER Rain. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA Wire
RAF drafted in as thousands evacuated due to reservoir collapse fears
RAF drafted in as thousands evacuated due to reservoir collapse fears
Toddbrook Reservoir - PA
A Royal Air Force Chinook has been drafted into a Derbyshire town in efforts to stop a reservoir collapsing after it was "badly" damaged during heavy rain. Hundreds of Whaley Bridge residents have spent the night away from their homes due to "an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation" caused by heavy downpours. Toddbrook Reservoir - which contains around 1.3 million tonnes of water - has seen "extensive" damage during the flooding and images appear to show a huge hole in the dam wall.
A Royal Air Force Chinook has been drafted into a Derbyshire town in efforts to stop a reservoir collapsing after it was "badly" damaged during heavy rain. Hundreds of Whaley Bridge residents have spent the night away from their homes due to "an unprecedented, fast-moving, emergency situation" caused by heavy downpours. Toddbrook Reservoir - which contains around 1.3 million tonnes of water - has seen "extensive" damage during the flooding and images appear to show a huge hole in the dam wall.
Whaley Bridge flooding: RAF helicopter drafted in as thousands are evacuated over fears of dam collapse
Whaley Bridge flooding: RAF helicopter drafted in as thousands are evacuated over fears of dam collapse
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The Environment Agency issued a "danger to life" warning covering the River Goyt on Thursday, as the river could "rise rapidly" due to water rushing in from the reservoir.

Toddbrook Reservoir is on the north-west edge of the Peak District National Park and was built in 1831, according to experts, although the Environment Agency record it as being built in 1840-41.

The structure supplies water to the Peak Forest Canal, a waterway running between the town and Ashton under Lyne, Greater Manchester.

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