Pennine Waterways News

Friday, 17 September 2010

Rain improves Leeds and Liverpool reservoir levels at last

The latest figures from British Waterways showing the levels of the four reservoirs dedicated to feeding the Leeds and Liverpool Canal's summit show that the total amount of water held has increased substantially since last week, thanks to heavy rain in the area. This means that British Waterways is now re-opening the canal between Wigan and Gargrave.

The reservoirs are now holding 17.7% of their capacity, which is 3.1% more than last week's figure of 14.6%.

British Waterways had said that levels would need to rise to around 20% before they could consider re-opening the 60-mile closed section of canal. However, the figure of 17.7% combined with further rain since the readings were taken has given BW the confidence to re-open part of the canal today and the rest next week. BW has calculated that there is now a less than 10% risk that the reservoirs will not be able to satisfy demand over the rest of the boating "season". The levels are still lower than normal so there will be restrictions on lock opening times.

While Lower Foulridge reservoir is still at just 11.1% of capacity, the other reservoirs are well up. In addition, the holding of Winterburn reservoir is now 76.7%, an increase of 17.9% on the previous week. Winterburn is not included in the figures for the summit reservoirs as there is a statutory obligation to provide compensation water from Winterburn into Eshton Beck, but the high levels mean that some water can be fed into the canal as well.

The reservoir holdings as of 13th September were:
reservoir capacity when full current holding   percentage of capacity   change since last week
Lower Foulridge     1,557 million litres 156 million litres 11.1% up 1.1%
Upper Foulridge 442 million litres 97.6 million litres 28.5% up 6.4%
Slipperhill 170 million litres   50.8 million litres 42.5% up 12.7%
Whitemoor 658 million litres 108 million litres 19.4% up 3.0%
average holdings of these 4 reservoirs 17.7% up 3.1%

Boats will soon be passing through Greenberfield Locks again.


  1. Hi,

    Can I ask where you got this information, I've had a look on waterscape and asked Waterscape for this information but with no response so far.

    The sceptic in me says this isn't that much different to the situation on the 2nd august so why did the canal have to be closed but anyway...


  2. Hi Jon. Information came from a .pdf document from BW "Water Resource Statement 16th September 2010" sent out by email to interested parties. I'm not on the mailing list as I had previously been finding the information via Waterscape, but it was forwarded to me by someone (boat operator) who was being sent the documents.

    17.7% is a lot nearer the 20% target than 14.6% of the previous week, but don't forget that those figures were down very slightly from 2nd August. On 2nd August I presume BW could not feel confidence that enough rain was on the way.

  3. Thanks Martin,

    yes I briefly saw a printed copy and was hoping BW would have published it on waterscape for all to see...


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