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04  March

First Minister enters Severn Valley flooding debate

09/11/2023 @ 02:51
The First Minister of Wales has acknowleged that better management of Llyn Clywedog and Lake Vyrnwy reservoirs is needed to reduce flooding in the Severn Valley.

Mark Drakeford MS has admitted he believes there is an issue with the drawing off of water from the reservoirs.

His comments came in response to questions from Russell George, MS for Montgomeryshire.

"Weather conditions have in the past exposed the operational arrangements and flood risk management at Clywedog and Lake Vyrnwy which has resulted in both reservoirs overflowing, the consequence of which has been downstream flooding in both areas," said Mr George.

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.

Mr George has long called for action on this issue and again raised flood management.

Mr George expressed the importance that agencies on both sides of the border work together - NRW and the Environment Agency England, and UK and Welsh Governments.

Commenting, Mr George said: “Natural Resources Wales have been involved with work looking at the possibility of enhancing Clywedog to have greater capacity in the winter months 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."

Mr Drakeford said: "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.”


Photo by Paul Wlliams - H18PDW Photography