The Canal & River Trust is updating boaters on water saving measures on the Leeds & Liverpool, Oxford, and Grand Union Canals following the rainfall over recent weeks. The charity is striking a balance between making the waterways as accessible as possible for boaters while mitigating against future risk.
The recent rainfall has improved water levels on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and the Trust is lifting the restrictions in some locations. However the reservoirs have not seen enough rainfall to refill them to a satisfactory level. As such, the Trust is removing the restrictions at Johnsons Hillocks and at Blackburn Locks as they are fed by feeders as well as from the summit. The restricted opening times at Barrowford Locks, Greenberfield Locks, Bank Newton Locks, and Gargrave Locks remain in place as they are solely fed from the reservoirs.
Wigan Flight can be prone to vandalism which, when it occurs, uses a lot of water and can cause problems for both boaters and the Trust’s water management. The opening times remain in place to minimise this risk.
In the south of the country, while the Oxford and Grand Union Canals also saw some improvements, the Trust remains cautious and is keeping the restricted opening times in place to ensure the canals have the best possible chance of staying open throughout the summer boating season.
The opening times are intended to allow boats that want to move to do so whilst also protecting the canal from unnecessary water loss through paddles being left open.
Jon Horsfall, head of customer service support at the Canal & River Trust said: “We will continue to monitor the water levels across the country, with a view to lifting restrictions when water levels are secure enough for us to do so. Our water management team is keeping a close eye on the situation and we can react quickly to any changes – either to open the canals so boaters can benefit from unrestricted use, or to put in water saving measures where necessary to ensure the canals remain open for boaters during drier times.
“Boaters play an important part in helping us save water. When you’re out cruising you can make the best use of the water available by sharing locks where possible and ensuring paddles are fully closed once you’ve passed through – with a few exceptions that are signposted locally. Please make sure gates are fully open as pushing them open with your boat can damage the gate lining and increase leaking. Thank you for your understanding and your support.”
For more information on the restrictions visit the stoppages section of the Canal & River Trust website: https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notices