Scotland’s reservoirs and dams are protected by measures to avoid flooding and ensure their structural integrity, according to experts.

The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) said it was working “every day” to protect the public.

SEPA maintains a risk register which ensures structures where a breach would have the most serious consequences are subject to particular scrutiny.

A spokeswoman said: “Reservoir breaches are very rare but they can happen. SEPA’s role as national regulator is to ensure that the risk of any breach is fully understood, steps are in place to prevent that happening, and emergency partners are as prepared as possible if one was to occur.”

All reservoirs with a volume of 25,000 cubic metres or more register with the agency, she added. “SEPA assigns a risk designation based on modelling of the impact an uncontrolled release of water would have on the surrounding area below the reservoir. Designation is based on the impact a breach would have, not the likelihood of one happening. Any reservoir that would cause a danger to people would be classified as high risk. SEPA has the powers to appoint engineers or take immediate action in the interests of safety.”

A spokesman for Scottish Water said its 258 reservoirs across the country were all SEPA registered. “Supervising engineers visit and inspect the reservoirs at least once per year and an independent All Reservoirs Panel Engineer inspects the reservoir every 10 years,” he said. “Further to the statutory inspections and maintenance, we carry out regular surveillance and monitoring activities set at weekly and monthly frequencies.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The Scottish Government has well rehearsed and tested mechanisms for responding to emergencies and effective working with partners.”