WATER SUPPLY: “a long way to go before reservoir holdings allow any significant easing of restrictions!” On 25 April, the following update was issued by Jeff Whyatt, Waterway Manager, Grand Union South. There are no changes to the restrictions that have been in place over the last few weeks. The one exception is an additional opening weekend for the Northampton Arm on 1 - 6 June (see below, left). These restrictions are in force until the next update, due to be published around 21 May, when we must assume that they will be extended. Reservoirs: The recent rainfall has been welcomed and has had a positive effect. In the Oxford/Grand Union area (everything north of Stoke Bruerne in SE), 8% of holding was added in one week alone (16 22 April). The Leicester line group of reservoirs is at 49% holding overall (vs 73% last year); South Oxford group holds 69% (vs 84% last year); Braunston group is at 77% capacity (vs 69% last year).
LOCAL RESTRICTIONS IN BRIEF
NorthamptonArm: Locks 1 - 17: Full closure, except 3 - 6 May: 10am - 3pm; 1 - 6 June: booked passages only. Email requests to enqu iries.southeast@ b r i t i s h w a t e rw a y s . c o . u k with required date and time of passage, and entry point. Stoke Bruerne: Locks 16 - 20: open 10am 3pm daily. Last entry to flight: 2pm. No overnight mooring in flight. AylesburyArm: Full closure at Lock 1. Will open to traffic at specified weekends to be agreed with Ayesbury Canal Society. Tring Summit: Locks 39 - 45 and 46: open 10am - 3pm daily. Last entry to flight at Lock 46 (Cowroast): 3pm. Last entry to (Marsworth 7) flight at Locks 39 and 45: 1.30pm. Mooring overnight only on summit, where levels are being held 300mm below normal.
For the Grand Union South reservoirs, there has been no net uplift due to losses and a recent weekend opening of the Aylesbury Arm. Current holding is 61% (vs 89% last year). With further rainfall occurring this week (23 - 29 April) 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 thank you to those boaters who have given careful thought to their journeys and certainly boated less over the last few weeks. Last spring, the weather was extremely good, but comparing the last two weeks with the ‘like for like’ two-week period last year, we find that for the Oxford / Grand Union area, lockage is 40% down on last year. For Grand Union South, lockage overall is 70% down on last year, with Tring summit lockage 67% down. Positive effect from water schemes: Most of the winter additional investment schemes are now nearing completion. We know these have made and will make a big difference. For example: * Feeder clearance at four reservoir locations is maximising flows into reservoirs; * Backpumping into reservoirs – Wormleighton reservoir is now full; Welford has recovered to 30% and we are still pumping here; * Acceleration of permanent equipment at Braunston to backpump and aid water transfer; * Investment in monitoring/backpump automation on Grand Union South ‘Northern engines is improving water transfer between Milton Keynes and Tring summit; * Dredging of selected areas on Radford-Calcutt section, to be completed
The journal of the Milton Keynes Branch of the Inland Waterways Association