AS PREDICTED in narrowboatworld, British Waterways has issued the closure notice of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal for Monday 2nd August.
It was on Monday morning that we reported the meeting of the boating businesses where it was realised that the state of the reservoirs to the waterway would reach their cut-off point of 10% by the end of this month.
60 miles closed
Unless a deluge was forthcoming a great part of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal would have to be closed. British Waterways issued its closure notice the day after we published this information, and have confirmed that 60 miles of the waterway will be closed. (The photograph taken on the top pound above Gargrave well signifies the state of the canal and its continuing loss of water.)
This is nearly half of its entire length, and the planned closure will take effect from Monday 2nd August, and will close for boating for 60 miles from Wigan in Lancashire to Gargrave in North Yorkshire. The start of the main holiday season.
Remainder may be closed
The remainder of the canal should stay open for navigation, however there will be restrictions in place of lock usage, and should their be no significant rainfall, this too may be closed.
Vince Moran, Operations Director for British Waterways, tells us:
"Canals depend upon a complex system of reservoirs and rivers to remain topped up with water however, the lowest rainfall in almost a century combined with high temperatures has left the regions' water supplies at record low levels."
We have been doing all we can over the last three months to conserve water levels within what is a popular canal, and we would only close it as a last resort. However, our reservoirs are expected to have fallen to 10% cent of their capacity by the start of August, at which point we must close off the water supply so as to be better able to manage the impact on navigation and wildlife.
As was reported in narrowboatworld, Vince conforms that stop planks will be installed along the waterway and the water supply shut off.
However, from the huge number of photographs now included in our State of the waterways' in the Gallery, showing the deplorable lack of maintenance of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, we feel boaters will disagree most strongly with Vince Moran's statement that 'we have been doing all we can over the last three months to conserve water'...