Following many years of calls for the better management of both the Clywedog and Vyrnwy reservoirs, and concerns about overflow from the dams, First Minister Mark Drakeford MS said he “believes that there is an issue with drawing water off from those reservoirs”.
Weather conditions have resulted in both reservoirs overflowing, causing downstream flooding in both areas.
Both reservoirs are owned and managed by Hafren Dyfrdwy, part of Severn Trent, but creating spare capacity by releasing water can only be undertaken at the request of the England-based Environment Agency.
Montgomeryshire MS Russell George has long called for action and again raised flood management regarding the two reservoirs with the First Minister last week.
“Natural Resources Wales has been involved with work looking at the possibility of enhancing the Clywedog reservoir to have greater capacity in the winter months,” he said, “but there’s also the issue of examining the draw-down times to allow water to be drawn down ahead of the winter months, to reduce the risk of flooding incidents across mid Wales.
“To me, it’s important that agencies on both sides of the border work together because any works or changes in arrangements that are carried out will benefit mid Wales and other areas downstream in England as well.
“I was pleased that the First Minister recognised the issues we are facing in mid Wales, and the need for water to be discharged, not after the rainfall event, but before it to create that extra capacity in Clywedog and in Vyrnwy.
“I continue to believe that there is an issue to do with drawing water off from those reservoirs, and it is understandable that people further down believe that, at times of high rainfall, if water is being discharged from the dams, then it adds to flood risk in those communities.
“And it does seem to me that, with the sophistication of modern forecasting, more should be done to prepare for high rainfall events. The water should be discharged not after the rainfall event but before it to create that extra capacity in Clywedog and in Vyrnwy.”
Responding to Mr George in the Senedd, Mr Drakeford said that “there are issues” at both reservoirs and “it does seem to me that, with the sophistication of modern forecasting, more should be done to prepare for high rainfall events.”