It’s nice to see that now there’s some decent management of the Chasewater dam works that the project seems to be heading towards completion. I recorded a few weeks ago that the works had clearly been reassessed, and now it seems to be fairly cranking along. Visiting late Saturday afternoon, I took a spin down Pool Road and noted there was a gap in the security fence, so I skipped in with the bike. There was a similar gap in the sectional barrier at the basin, so I could get out onto the Anglesey Branch.
This unusual access allowed me to get closer to the works than before and see what was going on. The coffer dam is now compete, and the ‘plughole’ or outlet culvert, where water feeds from the base of the reservoir through the valves and into the canal, is now effectively sealed off by sectional piling and pumped dry so that engineers can assess it’s condition and make good any repair needed. This pump out includes the head feed at the canal basin, where the filter grilles can be seen in the end of the feeder pipe. All the old constructions around the spillway and old nine-foot pool have been removed, and new concrete structures are being cast into place. The new bridge, constructed of the same square pipe sections as the one in the railway causeway, is now in place. Gravel filters have been installed at the base of the dam, the retaining piling now clipped level along the length. The top of the gravel has been lined, and what appears to be clay has been rolled on top; the lower part of the dam where it meets the filter has been regraded to lessen the steepness.
Once the work on the outlet culvert is complete, the valves will be closed and the lake can start refilling – of course, were this to happen tomorrow, it would still take several years to refill. This summer has been so dry that no water is currently flowing into Chasewater at all.
Chasewater is still drained, and is still in grave peril, but at least it seems like everyone involved is now working towards the same conclusion, and it surely can’t be far away. Lichfield District Council’s mismanagement of this invaluable wildlife haven was grievous should never be forgotten.
For further views, do check out Chasewater Wildlife Group’s news page.