Boat owners stuck on UK canal after drought warning

Skipton-Leeds &-Liverpool-Canal

Boat owners will be unable to move their boats along stretches of the UK’s longest canal next week, due to closures related to a lack of water.

The Canal & River Trust has confirmed areas along the Leeds-Liverpool canal will be closed for periods from 18 July, to assist with water levels, after low rainfall has resulted in low water levels in the Lancashire and Yorkshire reservoirs that usually fill the canal locks.

Britain is currently in the grip of a heatwave and drought, with a rare ‘amber warning’ for extreme heat extended into next week, as temperatures remain in the mid to high 30s. Millions of people are facing the prospect of a hosepipe ban, after several water companies issued a warning to customers to be careful how they use water in the coming weeks.

Yorkshire Water said that the lack of rainfall has impacted water levels in rivers and the amount of water it has been able to collect in its reservoirs. Stocks in reservoirs are at 62 per cent, which is 18 per cent down on usual stocks at this time of year.

Neil Dewis, head of water at Yorkshire Water, says: “There has been very little rain with just some short, sharp showers that don’t deliver the water we need in our reservoirs and rivers.

“We’ve got teams out and about across Yorkshire, working round the clock to save water from leaky pipes, prioritising larger leaks. We’re also asking our customers to help us save water where they can. Simple steps can help reduce wastage and ensure we make the most of the water we’ve got so there’s enough to go around.”

Locks hold hundreds of thousands of litres of water. Every time a boat goes through a canal lock, the canal loses tens of thousands of litres, which need to be replenished by the reservoirs.

Water usage on the Leeds-Liverpool canal reportedly reached record highs in June, after a lock near Skipton in North Yorkshire reopened following repairs.

The Canal & River Trust confirms that, from 18 July, Poolstock Locks 1 & 2 on the Leigh Branch will close to assist with the water levels on the Leeds-Liverpool canal.

However, to enable boat movements to Ribble Link, Wigan Dry Dock, Liverpool Canal Link & Salthouse Dock, the Trust will temporarily open Poolstock Locks 1 & 2 on the Leigh Branch and Lock 86 on the Leeds & Liverpool canal two days a week, for pre-arranged bookings only. More information about the arrangements can be found online.

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One response to “Boat owners stuck on UK canal after drought warning”

  1. Ronald Button says:

    Position desalination plants at critical seaward points on canals (and rivers), then use the canals & rivers to transport water to reservoirs via weirs and canal bypasses.