Powys Digital History Project

The Elan Valley dams
The Claerwen dam

The location of
the Elan Valley dams
and reservoirs
is shown on the
sketch map.   
Increasing need for water
The severe drought of 1937 served to give warning of the increasing need for much greater water storage capacity. The three dams proposed for the Claerwen Valley as part of the original Elan Valley waterworks scheme of 1892 had not been built, apart from the base of the dam at Dol-y-Mynach which had to be constructed early because of its location below the top water level of the Craig Goch reservoir.
The wide expanse
of the upper
Claerwen Valley
before being
Claerwen Valley,c1947The intention of James Mansergh was that the dams on the Claerwen, though included in the initial plans, would be built in later years when Birmingham's needs increased.
It was to be quite a long time before further use was to be made of the potential of the River Claerwen for increasing the reserves of water to be made available for delivering supplies to the city of Birmingham. Further construction work in this valley was to be substantially delayed by the two major wars after the completion of the Elan Valley scheme in 1907.

 The newly built
Claerwen dam
in 1952

By kind permission of Radnorshire Museum,
Llandrindod Wells

Proposals forClaerwen dam,1952 a large new dam in the upper Claerwen Valley were at an advanced stage by early 1939, but the Second World War meant that the demands of wartime production itself put even greater strains on the existing water supplies.
The increasingly urgent calls for a new dam and reservoir on the Claerwen were to be reactivated soon after the end of the war. Progress in civil engineering techniques and in mechanisation, however, meant that much larger dams could be built by this date.

It had again been necessary to obtain the authority of Parliament before proceeding with the new dam, since the original Birmingham Corporation Water Act 1892 permitted construction of the three smaller dams as specified in the original scheme.

There are 2 pages on the Claerwen dam.

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