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The vanishing lake; VILLAGERS' FURY AS EWE HAS TO BE RESCUED FROM 3FT OF MUD.

Byline: By ANDREW FORGRAVE Rural Affairs Editor

FURIOUS villagers are demanding to know why a much-loved fishing lake and beauty spot keeps disappearing.

Llyn Anafon, a former reservoir on the Carneddau mountains, is currently two-thirds empty and surrounded by a thick layer of mud.

Last weekend hill shepherds and farmers launched a dramatic rescue after a ewe became stranded in 3ft deep mud.

Now residents in Llanfairfechan are demanding action from owners Dwy Cymru (Welsh Water) in case a child becomes trapped.

Community councillor Gareth Jones said: "It's a hell of a mess up there - it's like someone's dropped a big bomb on the lake.

"The mud comes up to my waist and it is most definitely a safety hazard for the children and families who like to go up there."

An earthwork dam was built across the lake in 1930 to supply water to nearby coastal villages. It was decommissioned several years ago and water levels began fluctuating over the past 24 months.

Dwr Cymru blames a crack in the dam which forced it to drain off water via sluice gates.

Last year a 200-name petition was raised against the company which responded by allowing water levels to rise again.

But engineers have again drained off water so that the lake now stands 7ft below its normal level.

Mountain shepherd Wynn Griffiths was alarmed at the potential danger to livestock even before he spotted a stranded sheep in the mud last Saturday.

He said: "It was making a hell of a noise which was attracting other ewes to the lake. My dogs moved them away while I called for help."

Mountain farmers Roland and Will Jones reached the sheep along wooden pallets thrown on to the mud.

Tonight the Aber and Llanfairfechan Graziers Society is meeting to discuss whether to demand compensation from Dwr Cymru if they lose livestock in the lake's mud.

By long-held custom people who lived in the village had the right to fish both the lake and the adjacent river.

Gareth Jones, who is also secretary of mountain pony group Cymdeithas Merlody Carneddau, added: "As a lad I remember going up to the lake to camp and fish. Until recently it was a popular fishing venue as it had a long-established population of wild brown trout.

"Now the water levels are so low, the lake is attracting lots of herons and even cormorants. I'd be surprised if many trout are left.

"It has also caused the once picturesque area to look deeply depressing and ugly."

Residents claim they have campaigned for two years to get the leak repaired and Dwr Cymru now says it will start remedial work.

A spokeswoman said: "The water level in Llyn Anafon was lowered by one metre as a safety precaution when it was discovered that there was a leak at the top of the dam.

"We are consulting with the Environment Agency and other bodies on a repair proposal, for which we need consents.

"We will temporarily have to lower the water level further while carrying out this work, after which the water level should return to normal."

farming@dailypost.co.uk

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Drained... Llyn Anafon reservoir above Abergwyngregyn is two-thirds empty
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 29, 2008
Words:534
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