Birmingham dam breach

Birmingham dam breach flood modelling – Dispatches feature

In Videos by Ambiental Environmental Assessment

Birmingham dam breach flood modelling – Dispatches feature

We modelled the devastating impact of a dam breach into the surrounding urban area.

The model was featured in Dispatches on Channel 4 where they talk about the potential impacts of a potential failure of the Rotton Park dam in Birmingham.


Voiceover: In order to get a more detailed picture of what might happened, we first went to Ambiental, a company that specialises in flood simulation. It uses detailed satellite maps and specialise software to calculated water flow.

Dr Justin Butler: The Rotton Park reservoir is interesting and specific in that it’s located in an urban area. So there’s potential for catastrophic damage to property and danger to life because of the proximity of such a densely concentrated urban population next to that dam.

Voiceover: We took their data and visualised what the dam break might look like. A massive wave of water begins pouring out of the dam. The most dangerous place to be would be the streets and buildings directly in front of the dam. Imagine a wave of water moving at a speed of 10 meters per second rushing towards me, carrying broken trees, cars, and all kinds of debris.

There were four schools and two nurseries within a mile of the dam. This playground and a nearby school would be covered in two meters of water.

You’d get a volume of water equivalent to four Olympic-sized swimming pools surging through this tunnel towards Birmingham’s New Street Station.

City Hospital is the nearest medical facility to the flood zone. While the hospital itself would be flooded, all the access roads around it would be blocked, making it impossible…


Steven Brown Ambiental Associate

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