News article created on 9 September 2014

Water resource consultation launched

Today we're launching our first consultation about how we plan to manage essential water resources over the next 35 years.

Our hydrology experts are working on a strategy to ensure that the nation’s two-century-old network can meet the challenges of the future and have water where it’s needed up to 2050 and beyond. As part of their work they are keen to hear from people and businesses that enjoy the waterways to help provide guidance and practical advice on the strategy.

It is the first time that we have consulted in this way on water resources issues. We're seeking people’s views on a range of issues including:

  • Reliability of water supply and the our approach of managing water so that drought closures are implemented, on average, less than once every twenty years.
  • Potential costs of changing this approach to achieve even greater reliability
  • The possible impact of future pressures such as climate change, funding and changing boating patterns
  • Assessing the water resource requirements of restoration schemes and new canals
  • Proposals for managing dredging, side ponds and dealing with lock leakage

Responses to the eight-week consultation will help to shape our Water Resources Strategy published later this year. The strategy will then be reviewed every five years to take account of any changes that may affect either the supply or demand for water. 

Adam Comerford, national hydrology manager for the Trust said: “It may sound obvious but water is so important to us; it brings life and colour and without it our network would have no boats, less wildlife and fewer people. What’s more it helps to ensure that our historic network remains one of the greatest examples of working heritage anywhere in the world.

“Many people don’t realise the careful management that goes into making sure that we have water where and when we need it and this strategy is all about how we do that over the next 35 years and beyond.

“We have a team of experts that care for our water resources but we want to hear what the people that use and rely on the waterways on a daily basis think. We want to be sure we’ve considered the right issues and that our proposals give confidence of a reliable water supply into the future. The best way of achieving this is by including those that know the waterways well and I’d urge people to get involved and help shape our plans.”

The deadline for people to give their views is 4 November 2014 and the full consultation including the survey and a summary can be found at