Ladybower Reservoir water level & Derwent Village, Part I - 94Mby MP4 Video
* 3min 15 sec, so video can be watched within the Flickr interface.
The weather conditions over the past months speak for themselves with little or no rain over the summer and similarly into Autumn. With the local news indicating that the Derwent and Ladybower reservoir water levels were the lowest they had been in decades, it turns out to be, in recent times, around 2 and 4 decades ago in fact, so it seemed prudent to go and have a look at the scene. When the water is as low as it is at present, it is possible to see remnants of the old Derwent Village which was flooded in the after the construction of Ladybower between 1935 and 1943. Rather than repeat much of the information available on-line, see-
for more details about the construction of the reservoir. The water levels fell dramatically in that hot summer of 1976 but there have been other times as well, 1989, 1996 and 2003, see-
In recent weeks, the water level has fallen yet gain, but not to the extent of the level in the 90s and 70s, one person present on this day told me he was around here in 1976 and spoke to a woman who once lived in the flooded Derwent Village, she remembers the Post Office, its location being off in the distance, near the A57 road bridge.
The water level isn't sufficiently low at present to walk across from one side to the other at that location near the site of the old Ashopton Village now next to the A57 trunk road over the Ladybower Reservoir. The reduction in the water volume in the three reservoirs, Howden, at the top, Derwent above here and Ladybower, must be colossal and its going to take a lot of continuous heavy rain to make up the shortfall in what are 3 of the major contributors to the water supply for local cities and south, as far as the East Midlands. The storage capacity of the three reservoirs is around 9.5, 9.5 and, for Ladybower with a surface area of 210 hectares, its 27 million cu.m and that's 47 billion litres of water in total. Some water is flowing from the Derwent, and Howden, into Ladybower and the side-streams/feeders are flowing, the state of the Derwent reservoir, over which the Dambusters did their practice runs during the last war, can be seen at the end of the second video.
This 1st series of 46 pictures, put together as this 1st video, shows the state of play looking from the west side of the upper section of Ladybower, over towards the east where, around 20km away, as the buzzard flies, the centre of Sheffield lies. Speaking of which, 50 million litres of water are taken via pipeline to the Rivelin Valley waterworks to be cleaned and delivered, via Yorkshire Water, to the population of Sheffield; the rest goes to the East Midlands where it provides 10% of the water supplied by Severn Trent Water. Its a colossal, imaginative and creative use of a natural resource, and one can only admire the care and attention paid to it, not to mention the Victorian skill in construction of all this, foreseeing that the nation's water demands could only go up. There were of course 'casualties', directly and indirectly, associated with these huge reservoir building programmes, one of them can be seen in these two videos. The other reservoirs in close proximity to the trio of Derwent reservoirs are- Langsett, Midhope, Underbank, Ingbirchworth, Royd Moor & Scout Dyke to the north-west of Stocksbridge. Broomhead & More Hall just to the south and Winscar over to the far west of Stocksbridge and between Oughtibridge and the Derwent reservoirs are the Damflask, Agden, Dale Dike & Strines reservoirs with Redmires completing the set of large reserves, just to the west of Sheffield.
The pictures here were taken after an initial visit on October 29th, when the water levels had been dropping steadily for a number of months, see-
these were taken 4 weeks late on November 29th with this time, a walk along the western footway at Ridges Coppice, just north of the War Memorial, and show the state of play just a week ago today, Monday 3rd December. On all three occasions, the final one was last Friday, the weather was kind during the visit although the low, harsh light has needed much in the way of filtering and colour balance. As is usual with my material, the pictures attempt to tell a story along with the obvious event which has taken place, and only happens around once every 20 years or so, the last great events being 1995 and 1976. At the latter time I was away in the United States during the U.K.'s memorable 'summer scorcher', it being hotter here on some days than it was in New York. We were at the top of the 'World Trade Centre' during July 1976 and 2 days before one of our wedding anniversary's, keeping schtum about which one!, when the American's landed two Viking spacecraft on the surface of the planet Mars on July 20th, a very memorable occasion now and in all sorts of ways undreamed of in those far off days; our one and only visit. Coming back to the UK after a three week sojourn with friends in New Jersey, was a real eye-opener and the hot weather persisted all summer long. One of the results of that summer's heatwave, was the lowering of water levels in these reservoirs. With the Autumn now turning into Winter and water flowing from the hills once more, the Derwent, and all the other reservoirs mentioned above, which are all exhibiting very low water levels, will fill up once more. If this is to continue to be a once-in-twenty years event, we had better start worrying more about the dire effects we are having on the climate; time it seems, is running out to do anything about the severe outcome if the world's global temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, can't say we haven't been warned about this, and really, this for decades as I recall...
The end section of the video shows some shots at the other end of Ladybower, where the water finally flows out and back on course as the River Derwent, the flow controlled by the two discharge towers and, when the levels are too high, the colloquially known plugholes, the eastern & western Bellmouth overflows. A video showing what the lower sections of these are like can be seen on Youtube, see-
I get the impression that this little 'trip', wasn't official!