Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Stoppages, Restrictions, Water Shortages ... and all that ....

For more information on the current situation click here.

There can't be a boater out there who has not heard about the serious water shortage and resulting canal restrictions, especially on the Leeds and Liverpool, Rochdale and Huddersfield Canals and the situation regarding the Chasewater Reservoir.

Mac and Jacquie on SKYY  are experiencing the problems as we speak - on their recent blog update you can see some of the problems.  In true British spirit though, the problems for Mac and Jacquie appear to have been just inconveniences as it seems that they are still thoroughly enjoying their cruise - as I'm sure lots of other boaters are too.

So, what can be done?

The majority of boaters are very aware and diligent about ensuring that sluices and gates are properly closed and locked if appropriate, doing all they can to keep navigations open and safe.  But then we hear of inconsiderate boaters who seem as if they couldn't care less and carry on regardless! And the vandals - the scourge of the earth - the worst of all - who think it's a laugh to do stupid acts that cost others pain, trouble ... and money to fix.

So, what can be done?

New Marinas ... are opening all over the system, and lots more at the planning stage.
Do we need them?
When a new marina is in the planning stage I'm assuming (??) that British Waterways is consulted with regard to the requirement of canal water to 'float' it, after all a marina with no water is not useful at all!

  • Before agreeing to provide water to a new marina does British Waterways take into consideration the effect of the loss of water to the canal system?

  • How many miles of empty canal would there be if the canal was not replenished from further up the system and reservoirs after supplying a new marina with water?

  • Do the companies that build these new marinas pay BW for the water taken from the canal system and its feeding reservoirs?

  • If they do, does that money go towards for example, providing more pumping facilites to move water around the system or fixing leaking lock gates to prevent even more loss of water?
The long range weather forecast doesn't promise us much in the way of rain, so that is not the answer to these probems; in fact if we have another dry(ish) winter and spring we shall be in dire straights.

  • Will canals have to be closed completely?

  • Will we only be able to cruise up and down the same pound between locks?

  • Will the new marinas be able to 'hold on' to the water currently being used?

  • Will they put stoppage planks across their entrances to prevent boats from leaving or entering and so prevent the loss of 'their' water?

  • Will we on the canal, or in the marina end up 'in the mud' as it were as water levels decrease?
I apologise if this blog is gloomy, but that's the way I'm feeling about the water shortage problem; it's not going to get much better, and what are (we) going to do if it gets worse?

If anyone has any bright ideas, answers or solutions - I'd love to hear them - especially if they cheer me up!

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