British Waterways has today announced a series of restricted opening hours and closures for locks in the South-East aimed at coping with the drought conditions.
For a summary map see here. The list includes:
Grand Union Leicester Line Kibworth Top Lock 18 - Kings Lock 38
From Monday 2nd April to Friday 13th April navigation will be open 10.00am - 4.00pm daily.
From Friday 13th April at 4.00pm, navigation between Kibworth Top Lock 18 and Kings Lock 38 will be closed to navigation due to water availability in the area.
Locks 18, 30 and 38 will be padlocked to avoid abuse.
Weekend openings will be considered based on available water supplies as the season progresses and if possible, this will be communicated at a later date.
Grand Union Leicester Line Foxton Lock Flight 8-17
From Monday 19th March Foxton Flight will be open 10.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Last entry to flight is 3.15pm.
Introduction of essential boat traffic may be considered if the water situation does not improve throughout April/May.
Grand Union Leicester Line Watford Lock Flight 1-7
From Monday 19th March Watford Flight will be open 10.00am - 3.00pm.
Last entry to flight 2.15pm
Grand Union Canal-Tring Summit Locks 39-46
From Monday 26th March 2012 the Tring Summit Flight (Locks 39-46) will be open from 10.00am - 3.00pm daily.
Last entry into Flight at Lock 39 (from the North) and Lock 45 (from the South) will be 1.30pm.
Last entry into Lock 46 (from the South) will be 3.00pm.
Mooring overnight only on the summit between Locks 45 and 46.
PLEASE NOTE – navigational depths within this restricted stretch will be held lower than normal. Water levels will be around 300mm down on normal navigable depth – this depth does allow craft up to a draught of 900mm to navigate down the centre of the channel.
Grand Union Canal Buckby Lock Flight 7-13
From Monday 19th March Buckby Flight will be open 10.00am - 3.00pm daily.
Last entry for through traffic 1.30pm.
Overnight mooring only permissible in pound between Locks 7 & 8.
Padlocks will be in place on locks 7, 8 & 13.
Grand Union Canal Braunston Lock Flight 1-6
From Monday 19th March Braunston Flight will be open 9.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Last entry to flight 2.30pm.
No overnight mooring in flight.
Grand Union Canal Calcutt Locks 1-3
From Monday 19th March Calcutt Locks 1-3 will be open 9.00am - 4.00pm daily.
Last entry into flight 3.30pm
Grand Union Canal Aylesbury Arm
Thursday 15 March 2012 until further notice
There is a continuing full closure of the Aylesbury Arm at Lock 1.
It will be open to traffic at specified weekends through the season, 23rd-25th March 2012 and 20th-22nd April have already been specified.
Grand Union Canal Northampton Arm Locks 1-17
From Friday 13th April, 3.00pm, the Northampton Arm will be closed to navigation.
The Arm is proposed to open for through traffic at specific weekends – the following period of opening has been confirmed with Northants IWA ; 3rd May (10.00am) to 8th May (3.00pm), when traffic will need to have cleared the Arm. Further openings to be advised, dependent on water availability.
Grand Union Canal Stoke Bruerne Locks 16 - 20
From Monday 19th March 2012 the Flight will be open from 10.00am - 3.00pm daily.
The last entry into the Flight will be 2.00pm.
No overnight mooring in the Flight (locks 16 - 20).
North Oxford Canal Hillmorton Locks 2-7
From Monday 19th March one side of Hillmorton Flight will be locked overnight from 5.00pm - 9.00am.
Additionally, until 31st March the existing maintenance works will also restrict daytime opening to single side only. Thereafter, Lock keepers will operate single or tandem locks throughout the day as traffic needs require.
Oxford Canal Marston Doles Lock 15 - Claydon Lock 21
From Monday 19th March Marston Doles Lock 15 - Claydon Lock 21 will be open from 10.00am - 2.00pm daily.
Last entry at Marston Doles 1.45pm
Last entry at Claydon 1.00pm
Mooring overnight permitted on summit pound only (locks 16-17) not in flights.
Padlocks will be in place at locks 15, 16, 17 & 21
Kennet & Avon Canal - Bath Bottom Lock 7 - Copse Lock 80
From Monday 2nd April all locks will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Boaters can keep up to date with the latest stoppages at http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/stoppages.
On 27th February, Geoff Wood, NABO's SE rep attended a meeting at BW’s Hatton offices, with representatives of other user organisations. They were briefed by BW Group Hydrology Manager, Adam Comerford, on the implications of drought conditions for navigation over the coming months.
Adam described BW's £700,000 investment in some 28 drought schemes to improve resource availability through pumped refill of reservoirs, lock gate repairs and new monitoring and control instruments etc. The strategy for maximising availability for navigation is based on modelling of water resources and preparing plans to increase and then conserve available resources so that they are enjoyed by boaters over as long a period as possible.
Click on the image below to see Adam's latest drought update with rainfall, reservoir and groundwater level graphs (the pdf file will appear in a new tab or window):
John Slee, NABO continuous crusing rep comments, "while its is regrettable that BW have only released the closure and stoppage details days before they take effect, we must all work together to save our precious water resources in the current drought."
Some of us will be able to cruise in areas less affected by the drought. Waiting to share broad locks with another boat, always checking that bottom gates and paddles are closed before opening top paddles, opening the next lock's top paddles before starting to empty the current lock when descending a flight: - these and other ideas will help.
Add a comment below if you have other ideas to save water. We must think of each other even more this year.