Stretch from Gargrave to Wigan to be off-limits

Trevor Roberts, of the Dream Achievers canalboat business which is based at Shipley

Trevor Roberts, of the Dream Achievers canalboat business which is based at Shipley

First published in Local by

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal is to be partially closed after being hit by the driest summer in more than 80 years.

The crisis comes as boat hire businesses along the waterway face their busiest time of year.

Boating will be banned along a 60-mile section between Gargrave, near Skipton, and Wigan, from Monday, August 2.

It will leave narrowboaters marooned from some of the most stunning countryside along the 127-mile canal.

There are even fears vessels could become stuck in places if the water gets much lower.

British Waterways blames the driest first six months of the year since 1929 and the seconddriest in a century.

Winterburn reservoir, near Skipton, which feeds the Skipton and Gargrave section of the canal, is holding only a fraction of its capacity.

And the six other reservoirs which feed the length of the canal are expected to be down to ten per cent of their capacity by the start of next month.

The towpath is to remain open but British Waterways is warning people to be extra careful as water levels continue to fall.

People who run narrowboat firms along the canal fear turnover will be hit.

They have criticised British Waterways for failing to plug leaks quickly enough.

Lucy Poulter, of Pennine Boats in Skipton, said: “It’s been leaking at Barnoldswick for months and they have done nothing. That is one way of saving water which would have helped.”

Troy Dortona, who runs Snaygill Boats, near Skipton, with his wife Jo, said: “There are some big leaks up and down the canal I've been told about which need fixing.

“We will be losing money, especially from the people who come from Lancashire and use temporary moorings here over the summer. They won’t be able to reach us.”

Trevor Roberts, who runs canalboat business Dream Achievers at Shipley, said he was concerned about the impact it would have on business.

“We have been trying to save water by not going through the locks,” he said. “But on the positive side people will have to move down towards Bradford and realise how beautiful it is, with the Five Rise Locks and the World Heritage Site of Saltaire.”

Judy Holland, of Silsden, who has a cruiser said: “British Waterways do the best they can with limited resources.”

Vince Moran, Brtish Waterways operations director, said: “We’ve been doing all we can over the last three months to conserve water levels.

“Unless we have significant rainfall in the next fortnight we will be forced to put in ‘stop’ planks and shut off the water supply from seven reservoirs from August 2.”

Comments (12)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:16am Wed 14 Jul 10

Newswatcher says...

I have seen the low water levels in reservoirs, much lower than recent years.
It makes me mad to see irresposisible people still using garden hoses and sprinklers.
We will all feel the shortage if people are not more careful. Self regulation would be much better than a compulsory ban.
I have seen the low water levels in reservoirs, much lower than recent years. It makes me mad to see irresposisible people still using garden hoses and sprinklers. We will all feel the shortage if people are not more careful. Self regulation would be much better than a compulsory ban. Newswatcher
  • Score: 0

9:42am Wed 14 Jul 10

Unc says...

Use your hosepipe as much as you like, it won't effect Winterburn Reservoir.
Winterburn doesn't supply water to the public, it was built specifically to supply water to the Leeds/Liverpoool canal....
Use your hosepipe as much as you like, it won't effect Winterburn Reservoir. Winterburn doesn't supply water to the public, it was built specifically to supply water to the Leeds/Liverpoool canal.... Unc
  • Score: 0

9:51am Wed 14 Jul 10

fish'n'chips says...

I find the likes of Yorkshire water more irresponsible than those who use the hosepipes. They lose more water in leaks everyday around 18%.
We live in Yorkshire we have plenty of rain to fill the resovoirs we just need more now the populations are expanding but that costs money the shareholders wouldn't want to spend should never have been privatised ...
I find the likes of Yorkshire water more irresponsible than those who use the hosepipes. They lose more water in leaks everyday around 18%. We live in Yorkshire we have plenty of rain to fill the resovoirs we just need more now the populations are expanding but that costs money the shareholders wouldn't want to spend should never have been privatised ... fish'n'chips
  • Score: 0

10:09am Wed 14 Jul 10

Joedavid says...

Here we go again the canal is short of water.
Why oh why not pump water back up used in using the locks instead of it flowing on to Leeds and into the river and sea.
Here we go again the canal is short of water. Why oh why not pump water back up used in using the locks instead of it flowing on to Leeds and into the river and sea. Joedavid
  • Score: 0

10:11am Wed 14 Jul 10

markjoe says...

We may have had the driest six month in a 80 years but we also had the worst winter for a while. Last time we had a water shortage it was blamed on a mild winter as the melted snow fills the reservoir, can't use that excuse this time. Earlier in the year there were floods in Cockermouth where has all that water gone. We've had floods in some parts of country for the last few summers. Looks like its simply a matter of plugging leaks in the supply to keep the water where it should be.
We may have had the driest six month in a 80 years but we also had the worst winter for a while. Last time we had a water shortage it was blamed on a mild winter as the melted snow fills the reservoir, can't use that excuse this time. Earlier in the year there were floods in Cockermouth where has all that water gone. We've had floods in some parts of country for the last few summers. Looks like its simply a matter of plugging leaks in the supply to keep the water where it should be. markjoe
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Wed 14 Jul 10

Andraste says...

It's all nonsense, these bans etc... - as certain posters have mentioned, there's plenty of water out there; it's just the lazy freaks can't be bothered to re-direct that to the areas where it's needed the most.
.
These water companies only care about the profits; sod trying to be innovative and helping communities not to worry about shortages.
It's all nonsense, these bans etc... - as certain posters have mentioned, there's plenty of water out there; it's just the lazy freaks can't be bothered to re-direct that to the areas where it's needed the most. . These water companies only care about the profits; sod trying to be innovative and helping communities not to worry about shortages. Andraste
  • Score: 0

1:15pm Wed 14 Jul 10

Steve30d says...

There are locks on other canals which do this. Most notably at Caen Hill, on the Kennet and Avon. Cost £1million(1990) to install the pumps, and what with pumping 380 l/s of water, I bet the running costs aren't cheep. Might be possible to use the water flowing down hill when locks are emptied, to pump a fraction of it back up using a hydraulic ram. But then there's problems with freezing in winter etc.
There are locks on other canals which do this. Most notably at Caen Hill, on the Kennet and Avon. Cost £1million(1990) to install the pumps, and what with pumping 380 l/s of water, I bet the running costs aren't cheep. Might be possible to use the water flowing down hill when locks are emptied, to pump a fraction of it back up using a hydraulic ram. But then there's problems with freezing in winter etc. Steve30d
  • Score: 0

9:45pm Wed 14 Jul 10

Collos says...

And they want to rebuilt the smelly canal back into bradford centre.
A poxy little canal and we cant keep it full of water has anyone ever been to Holland.
And they want to rebuilt the smelly canal back into bradford centre. A poxy little canal and we cant keep it full of water has anyone ever been to Holland. Collos
  • Score: 0

9:53pm Wed 14 Jul 10

Andraste says...

Well, the Heavens have opened. No excuse for the ban now...
Well, the Heavens have opened. No excuse for the ban now... Andraste
  • Score: 0

12:42pm Thu 15 Jul 10

Andraste says...

It's been raining quite heavily for nearly 24 hours now.... will the ignoramuses still call for a ban ?
It's been raining quite heavily for nearly 24 hours now.... will the ignoramuses still call for a ban ? Andraste
  • Score: 0

1:17pm Thu 15 Jul 10

albion says...

Andraste wrote:
It's been raining quite heavily for nearly 24 hours now.... will the ignoramuses still call for a ban ?
That will depend on reservoir stocks, why "ignoramuses"?
[quote][p][bold]Andraste[/bold] wrote: It's been raining quite heavily for nearly 24 hours now.... will the ignoramuses still call for a ban ?[/p][/quote]That will depend on reservoir stocks, why "ignoramuses"? albion
  • Score: 0

3:22pm Thu 15 Jul 10

mikado85 says...

were having quite a bit of rain recently!
were having quite a bit of rain recently! mikado85
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree