As summer approaches, the number of boat movements increases, as does the drawdown on reservoirs. The mix of dry sunny spells and wet periods during March meant that overall rainfall was near average for the month. However, there were regional variations, and the north-west had over 140% of long-term average (LTA) rainfall, but a large area of the south-east saw less than 70% of LTA. The Easter weekend saw marked increases in boating and consequent lock usage, and reservoir drawdown was evident across the system, with all but one reservoir group showing a reduction in the volume of stored water.
At the end of April, most reservoirs were near to, or above, 90% capacity. The exceptions were the K&A at 83.2% (down 10.6% on the previous month), the Huddersfield Narrow at 86.7% (down 13.3% on the previous month) and the BCN at 76.3% (down 3.4%). The BCN capacity is partly due to Chasewater and Tardebigge reservoirs being held down for reservoir safety reasons, but it is almost twice the capacity of the minimum April holding of 39.4% in 2012. River flows in the south are generally below the seasonal average. Despite a dry April in many parts of the country, the overall outlook for water resources across the network remains positive. For further information, see ‘Reservoir Watch’ on the CRT website here at or go the CRT web site and search ‘reservoir-watch’).