Victor: Water shortage closures!

Published: Sunday, 10 March 2019

IT TAKES some believing in view of all the recent rain, but CaRT is closing part of the Grand Union Canal tomorrow, Monday, owing to lack of water!

Stockton 6 7Yes my friends, the season has not even started, yet there are water shortages, so Canal & River Trust are undertaking what it now calls 'mitigation/water saving works' on Stockton Flight on the Grand Union.

So it tells us that it is closing locks and refitting gates to reduce water leakage, as the reservoirs have not refilled as expected. Of course they have not, the water is draining away through the many leaking gates, as every boater regularly using the waterways is well aware.

But of course CaRT still blames that 'long hot summer' of some seven months away. But the picture of a pound we met last year at Stockton with its water completely drained away overnight, tells its own tale...

LandslideWolverleyWill they get through?

Though CaRT is planning to start clearing the landslip from the canal on the Staffs & Worcs this week, there is a problem that may stop those boats now waiting for passage from proceeding.

Worcester County Council—the highways authorityhas told that if the bank starts to move as the sand is removed, all work must stop, so the waterway will not be able to be cleared.

As boaters will be aware. a great part of the southern part of the waterway is constructed on sandstone, that is not too stable, as can obviously be seen from the picture.

Complain to them

Since our contributor James Henry wrote of news and web publications we have been overwhelmed by comments concerning 'them and us', if you know what I mean.

Or to put it more bluntly, our daily news and their occasional Press releases. But don't complain to us, complain to them!

Health & Safety is the problem

Most of us are aware of the time it takes to renew lock gates now as opposed to 'then'. For I well remember dropping down Heartbreak Hill on the Trent & Mersey way back in 1997 and seeing the then British Waterways people replacing a pair of gates.

a1Aston2There was a simple fence around the lock and pull-lifts on a gantry over the lock holding a gate that had obviously arrived by the nearby boat and been lifted out, and was in the process of being dropped into position.

No double fencing, no stairs down into the lock, no walkway across the lock, no cabin, no toilet (there was obviously one in the boat) and no plethora of notices.

A fella there told me it would take 'a couple of days'. Nowadays it can take weeks, with the broad Aston Lock on the Trent & Mersey a prime example. The picture shows the health & safety paraphernalia, and it has been going on for weeks, and is still late.

But what is worse is that it costs so much more. And this is what I believe is the reason for the tragic lack of maintenance todayall the preparation before work can even begin, the cabins and toilets, the rules and regulations controlling it and the clearing away, all taking expensive time and so costing money, a great deal of money.

And that's the rub—In comparison with those bygone days we get so much less done for so much more money. So maintenance will never catch up.

Victor Swift