7,000 demand Senedd has full control of Welsh water as protests take place at valleys drowned to create reservoirs
7,000 have signed a petition demanding that the Senedd has full control of natural resources in Wales after YesCymru held protests at valleys drowned to create reservoirs around Wales.
The independence campaign group held a protest at Capel Celyn, flooded in 1965 to create a reservoir, Llyn Celyn, in order to supply Liverpool and the Wirral with water.
Meanwhile, they also held a protest at Lake Vyrnwy in Powys which was created in the 1880s, submerging the village of Llanwddyn.
— Yes Cymru Bro Ffestiniog (@YesBroStiniog) August 29, 2022
The waters of Llyn Celyn, the creation of which gave rise to the slogan ‘Cofiwch Dryweryn’, are currently so low due to drought that the main road, chapel and burial ground are visible.
— Wilias (@Wilias_Stiniog) August 29, 2022
“Capel Celyn burial ground” emerges from #Tryweryn #CapelCelyn . Popped back heading home from Harlech to see the water had dropped further and the cemetery signs were now in full view. #CofiwchDryweryn pic.twitter.com/tn8PJbCMwm
— WCraig Colville (@welshphotoguy) August 29, 2022
Currently, the Welsh Parliament and Government do not have control over the cross-border regulation of water over the border between Wales and England.
Campaigners argue that if Wales did have that power it could demand compensation for using Welsh water to provide drinking water in England, raising hundreds of millions.
Urging people to sign the petition, petition author Nerys Jenkins said: “Work has already begun to transfer water from Wales to drought-hit areas of England, according to the Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.
“Water is a valuable commodity and this is another example of London syphoning away our most valuable resource without any consultation or benefit to our communities.
“Wales is rich in natural resources and we cannot continue to allow our future and our wealth to be taken from us. All natural resources must benefit us the people who live in Wales.”
The petition also notes that Wales should control its own energy supply and its own seabed, which is currently mainly owned by the Crown Estate.
“Wales is a net exporter of electricity, having consumed approximately 14.7 TWh(1) of electricity in 2019, while generating approximately 27.9 TWh,” it says.
“The valuation of the Crown Estate’s marine portfolio in Wales has increased significantly from £49.2 million in 2020 to £549.1 million in 2021.”
The petition was launched after the Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission said “work has already begun” to transfer water from Wales to drought-hit areas of England.
Sir John Armitt, speaking on The Briefing Room on Radio 4, said that water companies in England did not want to invest in reservoirs and that they were unpopular with communities that did not want to see their land flooded.
Instead, he said, Severn Trent and Thames Water were in talks to transfer water from Wales to the south of England, starting at Lake Vyrnwy and being transferred through pipes or a canal to the Thames basin.
John Armitt had said that companies were looking at having “more water in the supply side by building more reservoir capacity, or in addition, providing water transfer scheme so you transport water from where you’ve got a surplus in the country to the areas where you are likely to have a shortage”.
Reservoirs were he said “the most capital intensive thing that you can invest in. So we’ve got the natural reluctance, I guess, of the private companies to lay out shedloads the capital to build new reservoirs, and no great pressure on them, to be frank from the regulator to build new reservoir capacity.”
“And of course, everyone knowing that as soon as you propose a large new reservoir, you are going to run into local resistance from the local population who won’t want to see two or three square miles or potentially maybe four square miles of agricultural land devoted to a new reservoir.”
David Aaronovitch interjected to say: “Or as in the case of Wales back in the day, whole villages.”
Sir John Armitt added: “Well, indeed, and of course one of the biggest in Wales is Lake Vyrnwy, which would be the potential source in a water transfer scheme.
“Essentially, you are transferring water from one river basin to another so you’d be transferring it from Wales. And work has already started on this between Severn Trent and Thames Water.
“So Severn Trent control lake Verwey in mid Wales. And Thames [Water] control the Thames basin, and the plan that they have is to shift water.
“And it could be as much as three to 500 million litres a day between those two catchment areas when you do it through a series of pipework or you could do it through the canal system.”
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.