The major £5.5 million engineering project at Chasewater reservoir has now been officially completed, council bosses announced today.
The 200-year-old dam at the heart of Chasewater Country Park was drained of water in early 2010 amid concerns for the safety of the reservoir which dates back to 1797.
The project, started by Lichfield District Council, proved a bigger challenge than anticipated and was taken over by Staffordshire County Council in May 2011.
From last October water levels slowly started to rise once more, helping to restore Chasewater to its original position as a major regional leisure attraction, wildlife haven and key component of the Midlands' canal network.
The last major milestone has now taken place with 100 tons of concrete pumped into the dam to create a weir, which will control the flow of water when the reservoir is full.
County Councillor Mark Winnington, cabinet member for environment and assets, said: "Chasewater is one of the Midlands' most popular beauty spots so it was absolutely vital that the safety improvements were carried out and the site is now returning to its former glory.
"We appreciate the impact that this vital work has had on people who use the reservoir for activities ranging from sailing to angling and wildlife spotting. The team has improved the overflow to safeguard nearby residents in the event of severe flooding, which will enable us to monitor the condition of the dam much more closely in the future.
"The drawdown culvert – the equivalent of the plughole in a bath – was located and inspected for the first time in over 200 years."
A mystery brick-built chamber that does not appear on any plans was also discovered inside the dam, and will be used as part of the monitoring procedures.
The original role of the reservoir was to regulate water in the Midlands canal network – in times of drought water would be drawn from the reservoir.