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The charity making life better by water


When there is too much water in the canal, we try to remove the excess water as soon as possible to ensure the safety of the canal.

Flood damage

Storm Babet

Our canal network has suffered significantly, after Storm Babet hit (October 2023), with massive structural damage, washed away towpaths and collapsed banks.

Affected areas

Affected areas include Worcester & Birmingham Canal, Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal, and the River Soar.

Cost implications

We won't know yet how much it will cost us to fix the damage created by Storm Babet, however we know it will be in the millions.

  • Storm Eunice (Feb 2022) caused widespread flooding and damage which led to an initial £300,000 spend, with a long term spend projected to be up to £1 million
  • Leeds & Liverpool canal breach (Oct 2021) required emergency damns costing around £2 million
  • Aire & Calder Navigation bread (December 2020) - repairs costing around £3 million
  • Storm Christoph (Jan 2021) resulted in a £4 million expenditure
  • Toddbrook Reservoir (July 2019) - concrete panels on the dam collapsed after unprecedented rainfall. Estimated repair cost £20 million.

Removing flood water

With the monitoring we have in place across the canals and rivers we are able to see what is happening in specific areas. If water levels rise, the monitoring system sends an alert and indicates to us a possible problem.

We remove excess water in a number of ways:

  • we try to ensure weirs which send water out of the canal are not blocked
  • we try to turn down the amount of water entering the canal in the flooded area
  • we try to get the water out of the canal as quickly as possible, using large valves known as sluices
  • if a canal has high water levels, it may be possible to move water through locks, down to unaffected locations

For more information, read the Flood & Water Management Act 2010.

When there is too much water it is sometimes unsafe to navigate along the canals and rivers. To check your planned route is currently open please take a look at our stoppage notices.

Last Edited: 11 January 2024

photo of a location on the canals
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