THE level of water at a reservoir near Aberystwyth is “below average for the time of the year” and the situation is “being monitored”, operators of the power plant which depends on the dam have said.
Cambrian News reported “And there are serious concerns for fish stocks as rivers all over the county run dry.
Water levels at Nant y Moch reservoir have dropped following a heatwave and prolonged period of dry weather.
It has left the Cwm Rheidol power station, owned and operated by Statkraft, monitoring the situation amid concerns that the Rheidol river could fall below “minimum flow”, affecting plants and animals as well as the station’s electricity output.
A spokesperson for the Cwm Rheidol power station, the largest of its kind in England and Wales, said: “The water level of Nant-y-Moch reservoir is below average for the time of year.
“In line with agreed procedures with Natural Resources Wales, at times of low levels the priority of our power plant operations is to ensure the flow in the Rheidol river remains above a minimum level to prevent any effects on the flora and fauna in the river.
“We are monitoring the situation closely and working with NRW on a way forward should the dry spell continue.”
A number of other rivers in Ceredigion have run almost completely dry, posing a threat to fish stocks.
Dave Mee, senior fisheries advisor for NRW, said:
“The prolonged dry weather can cause watercourses to dry up.
“This is causing great stress to our fish populations and people, including anglers, are rightly concerned about fish in our streams.
“We are equally concerned and protecting our rivers and wildlife is one of our most important jobs.
“But we also have to consider if any attempt to rescue distressed fish does more harm than good.
“High water temperatures can prove fatal to salmon and trout and moving them to larger rivers in these conditions only adds to their distress and can put increasing pressure on existing populations.
“We make every decision in these conditions on a case-by-case basis and only if we believe that the benefits outweigh the risks and impact on our resources.”
Owain Sheppard, hydrology technical specialist for NRW, said: “The current spell of prolonged dry weather has had an adverse effect on rivers and stream in Wales and there are concern that if it continues throughout the summer water quality and the environment will suffer.
“Alongside recent exceptionally high temperatures, the country has experienced two months of low rainfall which has also affected river flows.
“Flows offer an accurate way of measuring the how much water is in our rivers and are used to provide an accurate comparison with the current situation and previous spells of dry weather.
“While we are experiencing low flows, no Welsh rivers have yet fallen below the record lows set in previous dry summers.”
Welsh Water had previously told the Cambrian News that it has “no concerns” over water levels in Ceredigion.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “Although we’ve had a relatively dry period across our operating area and forecasters are predicting the weather is set to remain dry for the coming weeks, we currently do not have concerns regarding water resources.
“Customers may notice that some reservoirs look low however water levels are where we would expect them to be for the time of year” here.