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Finding Leaks on the Lancaster Canal

Project hydrologist, Sarah Temple-Phillips tells us about her trip up to the Lancaster Canal, flow gauging to find leaks

Finding Leaks on the Lancaster Canal

Back in July, two colleagues in the Water Management Team travelled up north to the Lancaster Canal to help the region identify the location of some leakage from the canal. A large amount of water is fed from Killington Reservoir to the northern end of the canal, but a high proportion was not making its way to the navigable section of the canal 11km away. However, no obvious leaks could be found from the length inspections.

Identifying the leak

After two days flow gauging at various sections of the canal, Hydrologists Sarah Temple-Phillips and Matty Blakemore, with help from Ben Armytage the local team leader, were able to identify a large suspected leak and narrowed it down to a small section of approximately 200m between two bridges.

The trio used the M9 Riversurveyor which uses sonar to measure the speed of passing sediment in the water. After a few transects across the width of the canal, the system calculates the total flow.

From these measurements it could be seen that there was a large difference in flows between two particular bridges. This information enabled the local team to focus their leak-finding efforts on this section. As a result, the local team leader went out the very next day and uncovered the hidden leak meaning contractors could be deployed immediately to complete repairs.

This is just one way the Water Management Team support the regions with protecting the water resources for the Trust.

Last Edited: 18 December 2020

photo of a location on the canals
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