£3m dam to cut flood risk
A £3 MILLION dam will slash the risk of flooding in Pontarddulais, experts believe.
Environment Agency Wales (EAW) is behind the planned dam, two miles upstream from the Bont.
The idea is that the River Dulais will flow through a culvert in the dam, but when it reaches a certain level water will be diverted and safely stored.
Keri Thomas, team leader at EAW's coastal risk management section, said the structure would be 120 metres wide and seven metres high, and capable of holding back 170,000 cubic metres of water.
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"There is a history of flooding in Pontarddulais," said Mr Thomas. "The biggest one was in 1947 — most of the town got flooded."
There was further flooding, he said, in 1963, 1979, 2003, 2005 and 2008, with Water Street and Upper Mill Road the principal two escape points for water.
"We knew there was a problem, and we looked at various options," added Mr Thomas.
"The River Dulais runs through the centre of the town, but it's a very constrained channel. It's very difficult to carry out works there, and there are a series of low bridges.
"There is an area 2.5km upstream, high up, which lends itself to the construction of a dam. It is a big project. It has been designed to start storing water at the right time."
Mr Thomas said negotiations were continuing with landowners at the site, adjacent to the old Graig Merthyr colliery. The budget for the project is just over £3 million, and planning permission will be required from Swansea Council.
Mr Thomas said most of the materials used for the dam would come from the area rather than being hauled up by road.
If all went to plan, he said, the project would be finished within two years, and the risk of river flooding to 246 properties in the Bont would be cut from a one in five chance per year to a one in 100 chance.
The Welsh Government is set to spend £150 million during its current term on flood defence. Mr Thomas said: "We seem to be getting more intense weather. There was unprecedented rainfall in Aberystwyth this summer, and it caused real devastation."
Pontarddulais Mayor Ron Waterhouse said he approved of any measure that would reduce flood risk, adding that he would find out more about the plans at an EAW drop-in session on Monday at The Institute, St Teilo Street, between 3pm and 7pm.
Meanwhile, this week's combination of high tides and string winds have prompted the EAW to install "stop logs" and flood gates in Loughor and Crofty, among other places, and EAW officers will be checking flood defences along the coast.
For the latest on flood alerts and warnings visit www.environment- agency.gov.uk or 0845 9881188.