Le­ices­ter is shut as wa­ter runs short

Canal Boat - - News -

FACED WITH THE prospect of reser­voirs fall­ing to min­i­mum lev­els, the Canal & River Trust has “tem­po­rar­ily and re­luc­tantly” closed the Le­ices­ter Sec­tion of the Grand Union Canal as a through-route – and warned that al­though other clo­sures ap­pear to have been avoided for this year, it is al­ready look­ing ahead to 2018.

The de­ci­sion, in­flu­enced par­tic­u­larly by the low lev­els of Naseby Reser­voir which failed to recover to its nor­mal lev­els last win­ter, comes de­spite CRT’s ef­forts to re-line lock gates on the route to re­duce leak­age.

It af­fects the length from Lock 30 at Kilby Bridge north­wards to Lock 38, King’s Lock in Le­ices­ter.

As we went to press the Trust was un­able to give any details of the likely length of the clo­sure.

Else­where, the net­work has avoided in­def­i­nite clo­sures.

There have, how­ever, been short-term stop­pages to al­low lev­els to recover on the Ken­net & Avon sum­mit, re­stricted hours at Wi­gan Locks on the Leeds & Liver­pool since spring, overnight clo­sures on the Re­gents, and a re­duc­tion (since lifted) to five-day open­ing around the Rochdale Canal sum­mit.

Some might point to the of­ten poor sum­mer weather and ask how the canals can still be short of wa­ter, but the En­vi­ron­ment Agency ex­plained that with low ground­wa­ter lev­els af­ter the dry win­ter and spring, the ef­fects of the wet weather have been small and short-lived.

The main con­cern now is that given the poor ground­wa­ter sit­u­a­tion, with­out heavy au­tumn rain there is a risk that a sec­ond dry win­ter could leave the sys­tem un­pre­pared for the start of the busy cruis­ing sea­son in 2018, as hap­pened in 2011 to 2012.

Locks north of Le­ices­ter have been closed

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