Listening to boat owners, Speaking out for boat owners, Representing boat owners.

British Waterways has released an update which confirms the waterways restrictions that will be in place in the South East from end April to early June (post bank holidays to Wed 6th June)

Summary – There are no changes to the restrictions that have been in place over the last few weeks. The one exception is addition of a further opening weekend for the Northampton Arm. Click here to open a PDF file Restriction map with legend. This will be displayed around the South East over the next week.



The recent downfall has been welcomed and has had a positive effect:-

1.Oxford/Grand Union area (everything north of Stoke Bruerne in SE): 8% of holding added last week alone

  a. Leicester line group – 49% holding overall  (vs 73% last year)
  b. South Oxford group -  69% holding (vs 84% last year)
  c. Braunston group -  77% holding (vs 69% last year)

2.Grand Union South: No net uplift due to losses and Aylesbury Arm opening for weekend

  Current holding 61% vs 89% last year


With further rainfall occurring this week the situation is certainly turning a little more positive – BUT….. there is a long way to go before our reservoir holdings allow any significant easing of restrictions!


Lockage volumes

Overall lockage volumes have been significantly reduced. A huge thankyou to those boaters who have given careful thought to their journeys and certainly boated less over the last few weeks.

We are up against strong volumes last spring/April when the weather was extremely good, but taking the last 2 weeks (emerging) trend, post Easter compared to the ‘like for like’ same 2 week period last year reveals :-


Oxford / Grand Union (the full area)…  40% down on last year

Restricted summits/flights :
  o   Foxton -55% vs last year
  o   Watford -55 vs last year
  o   Buckby -50% vs last year


The expected ‘exit’ routes from SE :

  o   Braunston  -38% on last year
  o   Hillmorton -18% on last year
  o   Calcutt      -40% on last year


Grand Union South overall …. 70% down on last year overall. Tring summit 67% down.


Positive effect from water schemes

Most of the winter additional investment schemes are now nearing completion, we know these have/ will make a big difference, eg.

 - Feeder clearance at 4 reservoir locations – is maximising flows into reservoirs

 - Backpumping into reservoirs – Wormleighton (NOX) now full; Welford (GUL) recovered to 30% and we are still pumping here

 - Acceleration of permanent Pumping at Braunston to backpump and aid water transfer

 - Investment in monitoring/backpump automation on GUS – ‘Northern engines’ improves water transfer between Milton Keynes and Tring summit

 - Dredging of selected areas on Radford-Calcutt section, to be completed over next few weeks; plus efficiency improvements in backpumps at this location

 - We are also undertaking 5 gate relines in the Calcutt/Napton area currently – completion by Thurs 3rd May


The next update

This will cover the early June – early July period. I expect to send this during w/c 21st May. Where appropriate any amendments to plan will also be alerted via Waterscape at the same time. Many thanks for all your continued support during this challenging water situation we are in.

Jeff Whyatt, BW SE Waterways Manager

25 April 2012

P.S. British Waterways Water Management Team have created an FAQ about their work here