Water Shortage Information

Like most boaters at this time of the year we have been wondering how the water shortage will affect our cruising plans. I have been keeping in touch with the stoppages and restrictions on Waterscape and I realised that around our home mooring (Yardley Gobion) there would be many restrictions on lock openings. However worse was to come - our obvious route north over the Leicester Arm to the Trent, would actually be closed from mid April just when we were planning to use it.

Having sorted out an alternative route via the Coventry and Trent & Mersey canals I was a little more optimistic but I decided last week to seek general cruising advice from British Waterways on routes north. Unfortunately the staff manning the number given on Waterscape proved less than helpful. All they could do was read the details already posted on their web site. No extra insight or information was available. What I really wanted was an overview of the problem areas rather than have to investigate all the individual stoppages and restrictions on routes north.

Come Monday it all changed. The Boaters Newsletter (email) arrived and it provided a link directly to some really helpful maps of the water shortage restrictions.  All the information I really wanted. Just a pity that last week BW customer services didn't (couldn't) tell me that this information was shortly to be announced. Lets hope the restrictions don't get worse.

The BW advice also gives stark figures on the condition of their reservoirs. Some, such as the group that feed the Grand Union Tring Summit, are remarkably low. Despite some spring rain the Tring reservoirs (GU South) are only 60% full - an historically low value and the Saddington reservoir (GU North) is only 41% full. The vital Oxford and Grand Union group of reservoirs that feed Braunston, Napton, Watford and Foxton locks (amongst others) are only 47% full. Luckily in the north the situation looks different with some reservoirs virtually full.

It rained heavily today. Pity we didn't get more of the same in February instead of 38% of long term average.