Where has the water gone?

Published: Monday, 01 June 2020

I HAVE seen information indicating that in 1824, 291 boats were loaded at Bugsworth Basin in a four-week period, writes Ralph Freeman.

So that implies almost 300 boats would be on the summit pound and leave via the Marple Flight of locks per month. Bear in mind too that it is likely 300 or so boats would have entered the pound as well, using considerable amounts of water to reach there from the Manchester area.

Water supply more than adequate

300 boat turnarounds per month.  That was the measure of the amount of traffic the Peak Forest Canal could cope with in those days. The water supply to the summit pound must have been (more than?) adequate then to support this level of traffic?

Boats used the Marple Flight of locks as I don't think the Macc was opened until 1831?  I know there are folk out there much more knowledgeable than I on historic boat movements on these canals, so if those figures are way out please contact the editor with your figures!

Wettest winter

What is known for certain is that February 2020 was the wettest on record, and the winter of 2019/2020 the 5th overall wettest.  These facts suggest to me there should be no water supply issues early in the year in the Marple area.  Yes, I know Toddbrook has not been fixed, but after it failed I read that CaRT was deliberating whether it was going to refurbish that reservoir anyway as water supplies were deemed 'adequate' without it...

Due to the stoppages on the Macc and two months of lockdown, it's fair to presume there has been almost no boat traffic draining water from the summit pound since the epic deluges of February 2020.  So the question is where has all that water gone?

Embankment problems

On the Macc there have been problems with embankments at Bollington, between bridges 26, 27 and more recently just south of Marple between bridges 2 & 3.  The question is how much water has leaked through these embankments over the winter?  If the answer is 'not a lot' then where has all that record rainfall gone?

Perhaps an explanation might be that CaRT is claiming there is a water shortage to hide the fact that they have serious embankment issues between the Bosley Flight and Marple Junction.  Maybe the real reason for the closure is lack of maintenance rather than lack of water?

Whereabouts of the missing water

CaRT does seem to have 'form' where the former is concerned doen't it!  Could anyone please enlighten me, or the editor, as to the whereabouts of the missing water?

[The water companies have no hosepipe bans in force and it is understood they have no intention of imposing hosepipe bans as they have adequate supplies—Editor.]