A billion gallons of water is set to be drained out of Chasewater reservoir to allow safety improvements to be carried out.
A team of experts and representatives from Lichfield District Council have opened the valves, to drai the reservoir in preparation for a major programme of safety improvements to Chasewater’s eastern dam.
Now that the valves are open, the water will flow into the Anglesey Branch Canal and then into Crane Brook – which will join the River Tame in Fazeley.
Visitors to Chasewater will notice that the reservoir’s water level will drop dramatically over the coming months. As the water level goes down, it will expose the muddy reservoir bed, which visitors are being warned not to go near for fear of soft, deep mud and silt.
Councillor Val Richards, Lichfield District Council’s Cabinet Member for Leisure Services, said:
“Opening the valves to drain the reservoir signifies the start of a major programme of safety improvements. Getting to this stage is the culmination of a lot of hard work, and it is good to finally get started on these works as it is essential that we make sure the dam meets current safety standards, making it safe for years to come.
“It is very important that visitors follow our safety advice. However, I would like to stress that Chasewater Country Park will be open as usual. Visitors can still enjoy the surrounding countryside and facilities, including the heritage railway and Innovation Centre.”
The works cannot begin until the water level has been lowered. The improvements will take around seven months to complete and should be finished by the end of the year.
The council expects to start refilling the reservoir in September. However, it could take between two and four years to refill it to its normal level, as it will depend upon rainfall levels and the amount of water the local canal network needs.
Cllr Richards added:
“I would like to extend our gratitude to the clubs that use Chasewater reservoir for their understanding and patience during these works.”
To keep up to date on the works and to watch the progress of the water levels dropping captured by a ‘Dam Cam’ visit www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/chasewaterdamblog.