Water Watch – August 2010

Waterscape brings you the latest information on the condition of the reservoirs feeding British Waterways’ canal network.

The weather is always a favourite topic of conversation with the British Public. For those with an interest in canals and rivers it can border on obsession (with good reason). To keep you updated on how the weather’s been affecting our reservoir levels, we’ve bundled up the latest statistics for you in one easy to read table.

Overall, reservoir holding for the British Waterways network is satisfactory, considering the exceptionally dry start to 2010 (Met Office statistics indicate that January-June 2010 is the driest since 1929) and the canal demands experienced so far during the boating season.

There are a number of reservoirs (or reservoir groups) where the current holding is the lowest on record (for a dataset covering 1998-present). The Birmingham Canal Navigations (BCN), the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Grand Union North and Huddersfield Narrow Canal all fall into this category.

* For the BCN this is due to the drawdown of Chasewater Reservoir for engineering works.

* The Leeds & Liverpool Canal reservoirs have been utilised significantly this year to meet canal demands, and a 60 mile section of the canal was closed to navigation on 2nd August, until reservoir holdings recover sufficiently to allow reopening. Although our table shows the reservoirs feeding the Leeds & Liverpool at 23.6 per cent, reopening the closed section of the canal is not an option at this point in time. The four reservoirs which feed the summit of the canal are currently holding an average of just under 11 per cent, which is too low to maintain the closed stretch.

* The Grand Union North (Saddington Reservoir) has been used significantly this season, but the canal is supported by water resources from the adjacent Oxford & Grand Union system.

* The Huddersfield Narrow Canal reservoir group holding is the lowest on record due to the exceptionally dry year to date, which has led to very little inflow entering these reservoirs.

* Although both the Staffs & Worcs, Shropshire Union reservoir group and the Oxford & Grand Union reservoir groups are showing their lowest holdings since 1998, there are no significant concerns in terms of water resources reliability at present (as these canals have other water resources available to support canal demands).

British Waterways is monitoring the weekly change in holding and carefully coordinating the use of all available water resources.

For more details on any restrictions to navigation, visit www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/stoppages and sign-up for email alerts of stoppages and restrictions.

The most recent monthly rainfall anomalies for 2010 are illustrated at www.metoffice.gov.uk

via Water Watch – August 2010.

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