British Waterways has issued a statement regarding the water supply situation on certain northern canals. The main points are:
Leeds and Liverpool Canal - closed between Wigan and Gargrave. While a few days of heavy rain recently was welcome it made only a slight difference to the overall reservoir holdings. The most responsive reservoir was Winterburn, but the result of the rain was only enough to support the canal for 3 extra days. The combined holdings of the other reservoirs that supply the summit of the canal are now 10.7%. (BW has previously said that the canal can only be re-opened once levels reach 20%.)
Stop planks are in place above the top locks of the Wigan, Johnson's Hillock, Blackburn, Barrowford, Greenberfield and Bank Newton top locks and at Stegneck Lock on the Gargrave flight.
In addition, paddle gear is being temporarily disabled at the bottom lock on these flights, to prevent boaters attempting to ascend the locks and becoming stranded.
There is some risk of running short of water before the end of the season. United Utilities have given BW assurances that they can sustain the current 1 Million Gallons per Day from Chelburn Reservoir into the summit pound until the Autumn, as long as sufficient rain falls. BW is confident that this will allow them to maintain a limited amount of navigation across the summit although there may be occasional local issues with low water levels. The two river feeds are still in use but there are restrictions on one of them.
Huddersfield Narrow Canal
There is a low risk - less than 10% - that there will be insufficient water to last until the end of the season, although BW will continue to monitor the situation.
Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals
Two of the four reservoirs are blow average levels. There is a low risk - less than 10% - that there will be insufficient water to last until the end of the season.