The BCN could run dry in 2018

Published: Thursday, 14 December 2017

THE main water supply to the Birmingham Canal Navigations is Chasewater Reservoir that was cut off earlier this year by Staffordshire County Council owing to the failure of a valve, that has left the water supply to the BCN in a perilous position.

Chasewater valvesThe valve (the one shown on the right of the photograph) was declared unsafe to use so the supply from the reservoir—that was built in 1797 solely as a canal feeder, first to the Wyrley & Essington Canal then later to supply the BCN—was cut off with no water allowed into the waterways since Spring. Alan Tilbury reports.

Extremely low

Water for the navigations has since been supplied by Rotten Park Reservoir that is now extremely low, with supply now relying solely on Bradley borehole and occasional back pumping at Titford.

During 2010, the state of Chasewater meant it had to be closed for repair that severely restricted cruising and resulted in the cancellation of festivals (Chasewater repair stops festivals), and unless some method can be brought in to allow the supply to the BCN to be restored from the reservoir, it is likely that the coming year will again see restrictions.

b chasewater 4Eventually sold

Though constructed to supply water to the canal system, Chasewater Reservoir was eventually sold by the former British Transport Commission, meaning that the supply to the waterways lost its priority. It became a country park in 1998 and is now used for public activities such as water-skiing, sailing and wake-boarding.

There is no intimation that the valve will be repaired.