A five year plan for canal water

Putting the Water into Waterways

Putting the Water into Waterways - Credit: Archant

With boat numbers increasing, new legislation putting extra controls on water supplies, and concerns about the possible effects of climate change, the Canal & River Trust has launched a five year programme aiming to reduce the likelihood of the canals running dry in droughts.

The strategy document Putting the Water into Waterways defines a target (that canals shouldn’t suffer closures due to water shortages more than one year in 20), and looks at possible ways of achieving it in the face of reducing supplies and increasing demands. The first step will be to computer model the entire waterways system to predict the likely effects on water supplies of climate change, new environmental legislation restricting CRT’s right to take water via feeders, and trends in boating. The next stage will be to study all the different possible ways that shortages might be prevented – for example:

. Dredging some lengths of canal to greater depths to act as extra reservoirs

. Putting water-saving side-ponds back into use

. Dredging reservoirs

. Prioritising lock gate replacement based on leakage

By 2020 CRT aims to identify which improvements will keep the canals from running out of water for the following 30 years.

See canalrivertrust.org.uk to download the full strategy document.