Call to save water at Kennet

British Waterways is calling on its boating customers to help conserve water on the Kennet & Avon Canal as concerns grow over low water levels.

The main water source for the canal is from an abstraction on the River Avon near Claverton. This water is supplemented by a number of other smaller feeders along the 87 miles of the canal, and is then recycled and transferred using a back pumping scheme.

A pump failure at Bradford on Avon, next to the most heavily used lock on the whole canal, and the largest pump in the chain, has led staff to ask boaters to help conserve water until the repairs can be carried out.

Will Burnish, asset manager for British Waterways said: "Bradford on Avon is a critical point on the canal for us. We have two pumps here and with one of them down, we just cannot get the water from below the lock pumped back up to the upper wharf as quickly as we’d like to. We’re doing everything we can to get the pump mended as soon as possible, but in the meantime if boaters can help us by sharing locks it will really help".

As well as sharing locks, boaters are asked to make sure that the lock paddles are fully lowered to prevent unnecessary leakage and that local signs and advice are followed.

Cathleen Ryan, water engineer added: "The Kennet & Avon Canal does suffer from low water levels at places of high demand like Bradford on Avon and the Caen Hill Flight. If we can get boaters to help us out by waiting a few moments so that they share the lock with another boat, we can cut our water consumption drastically. Water is just about the most precious resource we have on the canal and if we all work together we can make it go further and last longer. It looks like being a great weekend for boating so we'll be doing all we can to keep the boats afloat".

Date Added - 24-Mar-2009

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