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Valve Tower

Northumbrian Water Authority, 1975-80

A tower rising out of Kielder Water close to the dam.

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Apart from the dam itself, the Valve Tower is perhaps the most publically visible and somewhat enigmatic aspect of the workings of the Kielder Reservoir. Standing over 50m tall, the tower is the route by which water makes its way from the reservoir back to the north Tyne river below the dam.

The main column of the tower (mostly invisible underneath the water) was created in a continuous pour process over a 10-day period when the reservoir was being constructed in the late 1970's.

The Valve Tower controls the release of water from the reservoir that can vary in depth by many metres at different timesof the year. To ensure that the water released most resembles that which would naturally be flowing in the river, a series of valves at different depths within the tower allow water from close to the surface of the reservoir to be released below the dam and flow on downstream. When released at maximum flow, the volume of water flowing through the Valve Tower can reach 50 cubic metres per second. When this is happening the normally placid water reappears as a hugely powerful and noisy plume exiting the pipes into the stilling basin below the dam.

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