I have just spent a week close by Lake Vyrnwy, in the heart of North Wales. This was my first visit to the area and I was stunned by the beauty of both the dammed valley and the surrounding country. The lake, or reservoir, was constructed during the 1880s to supply Liverpool with fresh water and was the first undertaking of its kind in the world. Another example of Victorian (and Liverpudlian) initiative, it was hardly appreciated by the inhabitants of the small village of Llanwddyn, who lost their homes under the lake’s water. Today the lake is a major tourist attraction and nature reserve managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
I was fortunate to enjoy an unbroken spell of sunshine – the best March spell in Wales for over 40 years. The downside is that with so little rain over the winter, talk of a serious drought has begun. Those old enough will remember the last major one in 1976, when a dry winter and spring was followed by a heatwave in July and August. A Drought Act was passed by Parliament as rivers and reservoirs ran dry. Standpipes were a feature of many streets and a Minister of Drought, Denis Howell, was appointed. As always happens, as soon as he took office, the heavens opened and a very wet autumn followed which went some way to restoring the depleted water stocks.
Today’s photograph is of an earlier drought, in June 1934, when emergency measures had to be taken. The tanker, containing salt water from the Mersey, is being used to water the streets. The location is Victoria Street, on the corner of Crosshall Street. The Liverpool Daily Post and Echo building is in the background.