Radical flood measures discussed in Wales

Water levels in a Welsh reservoir may be kept below capacity to prevent farmland being submerged in floodwater during freak weather conditions.

In June a large acreage of crops was submerged and destroyed when heavy rainfall caused flooding in parts of the Severn Valley. Livestock had to be moved to higher ground.

Farmers said more could have been done to prevent the incident by controlling water levels at the Clywedog Reservoir.

Environment Agency Wales has now agreed to investigate the practicality of maintaining spare capacity in the reservoir all year round.

NFU Cymru Montgomeryshire county chairman Edward Chapman, who was involved in talks with Environment Agency Wales, said the union had always maintained that the reservoir could play a significant role in helping to alleviate flooding pressures downstream.

“In the main it has helped to do just this, yet those few crucial days in early June showed that more specific forecasting is needed, together with greater flexibility in drawing down water from the reservoir to allow for a greater level of storage,” said Mr Chapman, who farms in Llanidloes.

“Environment Agency Wales has agreed to look at maintaining spare capacity in the reservoir all the year round. Flash floods will often occur at short notice during the warmer months, and while securing water supply is important, so is flood alleviation.

“We’re sure the two can be better balanced. Rather than making sure the reservoir is always full, maintaining the water line at a slightly lower level would allow for storage of heavy rainfall without endangering the security of water supply,” Mr Chapman said.

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