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Grand Union’s Leicester line to reopen following April rainfall

It’s been the wettest April on record, and it has finally brought relief to the thirsty canal network. British Waterways says that the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal will reopen to navigation tomorrow (Friday 11th May), and some lock opening hours in areas affected by drought lengthened, after reservoir holdings improved over April.

The closure of the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal, between locks 18 and 38, is to be lifted from Friday 11th May with boats able to navigate between 9.00am and 4.00pm. In addition opening hours at Foxton, Watford, Buckby, Braunston, Calcutt and Stoke Bruerne are to be extended by around two hours. The measures will be reviewed after the Diamond Jubilee bank holiday in June.

However, BW is still warning that water supplies remain low, and is asking boaters to continue to  be careful about not wasting water, by taking a few simple steps such as sharing locks, ensuring paddles are closed after use and – in broad locks - opening both gates when entering or leaving, to avoid damaging their watertight seal.

BW’s operations director, Vince Moran, said ; “Whilst the situation looks a lot brighter than it did a few months ago it’s important that boaters aren’t complacent. Reservoir holdings traditionally fall over the course of the summer anyway, so it’s important that everyone uses water efficiently to keep things running smoothly right through to the end of the main boating season.”

Shortened opening hours are to remain in place for the time being on the Tring Summit of the Grand Union as the reservoirs there are closely linked to groundwater levels and have not responded as quickly as others elsewhere on the network.

Similarly there will be no change to opening hours on the Oxford Summit, partly because holdings in Boddington Reservoir are being held down for engineering reasons. Reservoir holdings will be monitored closely and actions taken when it is appropriate to do so.

A map showing the updated opening times along with reservoir reports can be found at http://www.waterscape.com/features-and-articles/features/water-management-in-2012.

Thursday 10 May  | Andrew Denny  | 5.15pm, Thursday 10 May 2012

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