The Canal & River Trust has released its latest annual update detailing progress over the past year against its strategic action plan.
In October 2015 the Canal & River Trust published its water resources strategy, ‘Putting the Water into Waterways’, setting long term aspirations for the next five years as well as looking ahead to 2050 to understand longer-term pressures and challenges regarding water supply and use.
Drought conditions have persisted in 2019 with restrictions being re-imposed on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and parts of the Oxford & Grand Union Canal. The trust has been monitoring developing drought conditions to minimise disruption to the network and refining its methodology for assessing the risk of navigational drought.
New marinas and restorations
The Canal & River Trust has assessed five new marina proposals and 12 business boating proposals to ensure that additional water demands can be met and continued to provide support to restorations of the Grantham Canal, the Cromford and Montgomery Canals and the Hatherton Canal.
Water company planning
Work continues to ensure the trust’s interests are safeguarded during the implementation of water transfer schemes for public water supply. The Canal & River Trust is also actively involved in the Regional Water Resources Planning Groups as part of the Water Resources National Framework set up by Defra.
Water resource schemes and dredging
The trust is supporting the progress of water resource schemes on the Leeds & Liverpool and Rochdale Canals and has completed a feasibility study assessing a water resource scheme on the Grand Union Canal. Work has also begun on two new feasibility studies assessing temporary schemes on the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals.
The trust has highlighted the importance of dredging summit pounds and other storage pounds and also recommended a rolling programme of spot dredging at pump intakes.
The trust continues to assess pressures on water resources such as climate change, changes in funding, environmental legislation and increased network use. Future focuses are the modelling of hydrological units, identifying schemes to address deficits in water resources and ensuring compliance of new abstraction licences.
Finally, work will begin on refreshing the strategy itself in time for its fifth anniversary in 2020.