Population growth and the development of new housing and industry increases the demand for water and power.
If demand is so high that all other methods of reducing water consumption (such as encouraging water conservation) are not enough one way to help supply more water to an area is to increase the storage capacity of a reservoir. This can be done by raising the height of dam.
The proposal to raise the height of a dam has to go through a long public consultation process before it can be approved.
This enables everyone with an interest in the scheme to express their views and identify the positive and negative impacts of the proposal.
The impact of the scheme can be assessed in several ways:
the benefits to society arising from the dam (water for households and businesses, hydroelectric power, water sports and recreation),
the potential loss of important habitats, rare wildlife and archaeological sites
the disruption to people's lives (increased noise and traffic during construction, relocation of people if homes are flooded).
The people involved in the consultation process include:
Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs –
The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
DEFRA's aim is sustainable development. This includes looking at climate change, sustainable energy generation, protecting the countryside and helping rural communities. The Secretary of State has the power to overturn the Local Council's decision on planning permission.
Nature Conservation Officer from the Environment Agency –
A Nature Conservation Officer's role is to protect, manage and enhance the local environment and wildlife within it.
Their role includes encouraging people to use the countryside and promoting an understanding of the natural environment. They also help to raise awareness of environmental issues by working with local schools.
Water Company spokesperson –
The Water Company spokesperson's role is to promote the benefits of the scheme to all the other people involved in the consultation process.
They will also identify ways of reducing any negative impacts of the scheme so the overall impact on local people and the environment is as low as possible.
Local residents –
Local residents have an important say in the consultation.
Their role is to make the other people and organisations involved in the consultation process aware of how the proposed scheme will affect their everyday lives. Their comments on the scheme may be both positive and negative.
Local Council –
The Local Council is responsible for listening to everyone's views and examining all the available information on the proposed scheme.
Then, weighing up the pros and cons and making a decision as to whether the scheme should go ahead.
County Archaeologist –
A County Archaeologist is responsible for overseeing archaeological investigations which are triggered by proposed development.
They identify developments that may threaten archaeological sites and advise on ways of reducing the impact of development.