Skip to main content

The charity making life better by water

It's raining but...

Recent rainfall has helped improve the water resource situation on some but not all parts of our waterways. The water management team gives us an update.

Slaithwaite Reservoir Aug 2018

Recent rainfall has helped the water resource situation for our northern canals:

All of which have now reopened with some restrictions. Please see our national drought closures map for further details.

We've not had quite enough rain yet!

While the position in the north has improved, we're still closely monitoring available water resources as the drought risk has not completely gone away. We've still got some way to go before we make a full recovery.

Restricted openings will help us manage any sudden increases in water demand following reopening, to minimise the risk of closing again and further disruption to our customers. We're hopeful we'll see more improvement in the water resource situation, so we can lift these restrictions altogether. However, if we experience a dry winter there's not currently enough water in our reservoirs to supply the canal into next year.

A bit of a north south divide

In other parts of the country we've not seen the rainfall that we've had in the north. In some places, particularly on the Grand Union Canal in Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire, and on the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal in south Wales, we've had to reduce the opening times at selected locks to conserve water and prolong supply to the canal. We'lll seek to lift restrictions on southern parts of the network as soon as the situation improves.


It's important that we take care with available water and we'd like to thank our boating customers, colleagues and volunteers in helping to use water sensibly. We still need everyone to remain vigilant and follow the principles of our THRIFT campaign.

While the situation is undoubtedly better than it was just a few weeks ago, for some of our canals, the weather forecasts are uncertain. We're continuing to work closely with the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales to maximise water resources to our waterways, and to protect the ecology within our canals, reservoirs and natural watercourses.

Kathryn Smith, Senior Hydrologist

Take a look at the improving situation in some of our northern reservoir groups. Some of our southern reservoir groups are not showing the same improvement.

Improving Reservoir Holdings 1
Improving Reservoir Holdings 2
Worsening Reservoir Holdings

Last Edited: 03 October 2018

photo of a location on the canals
newsletter logo

Stay connected

Sign up to our monthly newsletter and be the first to hear about campaigns, upcoming events and fundraising inspiration