IT is one of the biggest repair jobs for decades.
Now a £2.6m project to improve Ramsden Dam, near the village of Holme is well under way.
A delegation from Kirklees Council visited one of the most significant feats of civil engineering seen in the Holme Valley for decades, touring the construction of the new spillway.
The scheme, which began in March, is part of a much larger investment in Yorkshire Water's dams, many of which were built by the Victorians to serve the needs of burgeoning cities during the Industrial Revolution.
All of them have stood the test of time, but more modern building techniques have developed over the past century and upgrades of a number of dams have been built into Yorkshire Water's maintenance and investment programme.
Project manager Tim Dyke said: “The first thing we wanted to do was reassure the public that the work is not a response to an imminent risk. There is no need to worry about the integrity of any of the dams we’re working on.
“However, the visit by Kirklees councillors Ken Sims and Donald Firth was also a welcome opportunity for us to explain the construction work, which is running to schedule and on budget.
“The old spillway at Ramsden functioned adequately and hasn't presented us with any particular problems.
“But lessons learned over the years – and the apparent increase in the frequency of extreme weather events – have prompted new designs for dams and we want to be sure we follow best practice and apply solutions which will protect the legacy left by our forefathers.”
The construction work has had no impact on supplies in the area, but Ramsden is a popular destination for ramblers, who have had to adapt to footpath diversions.
Yorkshire Water also liaised with anglers who usually fish the reservoir, which has been ‘drawn down’ to allow the construction teams to work in safety.
Clr Firth said: “We’ve had few complaints about the work itself.
“This is a big job, but the contractors. Mott MacDonald Bentley, and Yorkshire Water deserve credit as there seems to have been little impact on the local community so far”.
Clr Sims said: “I welcome the fact that footpaths in the area have remained open and Yorkshire Water and their contractors seem to have the skills and take the necessary care to limit the impact on the environment.
“The authority and the community have a good rapport with the company and the contractors, which we certainly hope will continue as the work progresses. However, dog walkers could do their bit to help by clearing up after their pets.
“It’s a shame that some of the diverted routes have already become a bit of an issue, so some consideration for other users would be appreciated.”
The work on Ramsden is expected to continue until spring next year while investigatory work will also be carried out on the dams at nearby Brownhill and Riding Wood to establish if further investment will be
required in the Holme Valley.
Mr Dyke said: “Naturally, we’ll be keeping local residents up to date and, if further work is required, we can promise full consultation before any works begins.”