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The charity making life better by water

Everyday maintenance

From undertaking bank repairs or mending broken handrails to managing the canalside vegetation and keeping our towpaths in good condition, our day-to-day maintenance work is essential to the smooth running of our waterways.

An engineer by the canal

Fixing faults

As our canals and rivers are open for everyone to enjoy, wear and tear is inevitable and faults do develop. We record the details and locations of all the maintenance jobs that need attending to in a database.

At the start of each year we identify which areas need the most attention and schedule them in for repair. This does mean that some jobs do have to wait longer than others, although prioritisation is a key consideration for our teams when planning our work schedules.

Many criteria are taken into consideration when prioritising our work, including the impact the fault has on our customers, the environment and our heritage.

Scheduled repairs could be anything from pointing brickwork, mending handrails, filling towpath holes, mending customer facilities, clearing reservoir feeders, undertaking bank repairs, clearing and relining culverts to rebuilding a complete lock chamber or bridge or a 100m stretch of canal wall.

Planned maintenance

An engineer repointing a wall

Examples of planned preventative maintenance include regular vegetation removal, greasing of moving parts, painting, cleaning, jetting, trash screen and weir crest clearance, testing of lighting and security arrangements and checking of health and safety equipment.

Our schedule of preventative work has already reduced the amount of emergency repairs we need to carry out, resulting in less disruption to waterway users and an improvement in the lifespan of our structures. Since the schedule has been in place we've extended the life of many of our lock gates from 22 to 26 years.

Last Edited: 08 March 2017

photo of a location on the canals
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