Using a revised version of a previously published expert classification system, a database of potential Sustainable Flood Retention Basins has been developed for Scotland. The research shows that the majority of small and former (often old) drinking water reservoirs are kept full and their spillways are continuously in operation. Utilising some of the available capacity to contribute to flood control could significantly reduce the costs of complying with the European Union Flood Directive. Furthermore, the application of a previously developed classification model for Baden in Germany for the Scottish data set showed a lower diversity for basins in Scotland due to less developed infrastructure. The classification system appears to be robust and has the potential, with minor modifications, to be applied across Europe. The principle value of this approach is a clear and unambiguous categorisation, based on standard variables, which can help to promote communication and understanding between stakeholders.