KEY maintenance work on one of the largest dams in the Elan Valley is to "safeguard its use for the 21st century".

A listed building consent application has been submitted by Welsh Water for the Grade II* listed Craig Goch Dam, which is also called the “top dam” as it creates the uppermost of the Elan Valley reservoirs.

The dam is a listed building as it has: “High evidential value as an impressive piece of civil engineering, constructed as part of a scheme to provide water and sanitation to industrialised Birmingham.”

The application is explained in a Heritage Impact Assessment by Oxford Archaeology.

Oxford Archaeology said: “The proposed works are located directly to the south of the dam and will predominantly be below-water, except during periods of low water level.

“A new scour downstream control in concrete housing will sit roughly centrally between the two banks.

“From this, hydraulic hoses in concrete housing will extend to the east bank, and an air supply network will run to the west bank.

“The proposed works will be visible above-ground to a limited extent.

“The hydraulic hose will enter into the 1997 concrete turbine house on the east bank, which is the only direct impact to the dam.”


Oxford Archaeology believe that the work would have a “low to negligible adverse effect” on the listing – as the work links to a part of the dam that was built in 1997.

Oxford Archaeology added: “The proposed works are necessary modifications to the water management scheme to ensure its adaptation to a changing environment and to enhance health and safety measures.

“These changes will safeguard the dam’s continued use and maintenance in to the 21st century.”

Craig Goch Dam is one of four dams on the river Elan which were constructed to supply water to Birmingham between 1893 and 1904.

It is the furthest upstream of the series of dams, located at a height of 317 metres above sea level.

It cost £6 million to building the dams, aqueduct and Frankley Reservoir near Birmingham ,which is where the water pumped from the Elan Valley is stored before it is piped into the city.

Building the structures took twelve years to complete. There was significant opposition to the scheme because of the loss of communities, who received no compensation for the upheval, and land.

As construction work started in 1893 a number of buildings had to be demolished including eighteen cottages, a church, a chapel, a school and two substantial homes.

King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra visited the Elan Valley on the July 21, 1904, for the official opening of the new water supply for Birmingham.

It takes two days for the water to travel from Mid Wales to the Frankley reservoir.

A decision on the application is expected by June 21.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.