From Monday 9th May, the Barrowford and Greenberfield flights of locks will be locked between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am Monday to Thursday. The locks will remain open on Friday evenings and at weekends.
Lasy entry onto these flights will be at 4.00 pm. Volunteers will then padlock the locks at 6.00 pm when all boats have vacated the locks.
Bank Newton and Gargrave lock flights will not be padlocked but BW request that boaters do not use these locks after 6.00 pm as there will be no feed into the East Marton pound during that time so if the locks are used and pounds run dry, there will be no supply of water to refill pounds.
BW say these restrictions will reduced the feed from the reservoirs by around 50% and the water saved will help towards keeping the canal open throughout the season. Last year the shortage of water resulted in the closure of 60 miles of canal between Wigan and Gargrave.
During restricted opening hours last year, some boaters cut off padlocks and used the locks anyway. BW have stated that if that happens again the boats will be traced with a view to prosecuting the boaters for criminal damage.
BW also warn that if any pounds are drained by vandalism or boater misuse then they will not automatically use additional water to refill them. So far this year BW is aware of numerous instances of boaters leaving paddles up on these critical lock flights.
Before opening paddles at locks, check that the previous boater has properly closed the paddles at the other end of the lock. When you leave a lock, check that you have properly closed all paddles. This is one of the simplest ways of helping to keep the canal open. BW also request that boaters wait for another boat so that locks can be shared and not to turn empty locks if a boat is approaching from the opposite direction.
When travelling downhill on these lock flights, a crew member should fill the next lock before you empty the lock you are in, thus re-filling the pound and avoiding unnecessary waste down the by-wash.
If the water situation deteriorates, BW will introduce further restrictions, which will include Barrowford, Gargrave and Wigan flights being closed between 6.00 pm and 8.00 am 7 days a week.
For any enquiries about these restrictions contact British Waterways on 01942 405700.