The reservoirs are currently holding just 14.6% of their capacity, which is 0.1% less than last week's figure of 14.7%. At this time of year British Waterways would expect these levels to be around 60%. Levels will need to rise to around 20% before BW can consider re-opening the 60-mile closed section of canal.
While the two smallest reservoirs are still more than 20% full, the largest of the four reservoirs, Lower Foulridge, is at just 10% of capacity, a reduction of 0.4% in the last week.
A spokesman for British Waterways explained that the reduction was due to "transpiration" due to the warm weather during the previous week. The current week has been wetter and it is hoped that the figures to be published next week will be more encouraging.
There had been concern for the well-being of fish in pounds on the Gargrave flight that were drying up but recent rain has helped to raise the levels of these pounds.
The reservoir holdings as of 6th September were:
|reservoir||capacity when full||current holding||percentage of capacity||change since last week|
|Lower Foulridge||1,557 million litres||156 million litres||10.0%||down 0.4%|
|Upper Foulridge||442 million litres||97.6 million litres||22.1%||up 0.2%|
|Slipperhill||170 million litres||50.8 million litres||29.8%||up 0.1%|
|Whitemoor||658 million litres||108 million litres||16.4%||up 0.1%|
|average holdings of these 4 reservoirs||14.6%||down 0.1%|
BW is constantly reviewing the situation with all the reservoirs feeding the canal with the hope of re-opening the navigation as soon as this can be done. On Monday BW suggested to the Lancashire Telegraph that the canal could remain closed until October.
The reservoir at Winterburn (capacity 1,270 million litres) is not included in these calculations at present because of BW's statutory obligation to supply a compensation feed back into the Eshton Beck (although some of this is being fed into the canal at Holme Bridge to maintain levels through to Skipton and Bingley).
The feed to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal summit was cut at the start of August, when reservoir levels were approaching 10%, resulting in the current closure of the sixty miles of waterway between Gargrave and Wigan. Some water has to be left in each reservoir to preserve the wildlife.
Foulridge Upper Reservoir. Photo: Richard Carpenter