What happens when reservoirs are full? © Getty Images

What happens when reservoirs are full?

Whether or not a reservoir fills up completely, and how this is managed, depends upon its function.

Asked by: Anonymous


Whether a reservoir ever fills up completely or not usually depends upon its function. Some reservoirs just hold water for hydroelectric power stations and their level is controlled according to the demands of the generators. Other reservoirs form behind dams specifically built to regulate river levels or protect flood plains. Here, excess water from incoming rivers or heavy rain is simply released safely through special channels in the dam.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.