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Monday, 2 April 2018

Water, water everywhere.

Sitting at home with the rain teeming down and the patio slowly turning to a pool, my thoughts turned to thinking about the canal systems reservoirs. I checked it out on the C&RT website to see how they were doing. You can see for yourself here, It seems that all the reservoirs are just about full. The Birmingham Canal Navigation area is the only one that is down at about 77% and thing that is due to trouble at the Chasewater Reservoir. It also tell me that last winter, ending in February, was almost an average one for rainfall. How come it never seems like that. Maybe for the same reason that Hans Rosling points out in his book 'Factfulness'. This is being narrated on Radio 4 this week in 5 x 15 min pieces in the morning. Basically he is concerned that facts are being misused, especially making us more worried than we need to be. The first episode was pointing out that most people think that the 3rd World is a morass of bribery and corruption, death and poverty etc etc. When you look at the facts it is obvious that life, even for those living there is far better than it was 50 years ago, but we always think the worst. Facts are able to show many things, especially in this world of 'False News' etc. It will be interesting to hear the rest of it. I suppose it is the creed of 'always look on the bright side', which, if for nothing else, must be good for our mental health!

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Higher Chelburn Reservoir that feeds the Rochdale Canal.

My curiosity peeked I had a look at the Trusts report on ensuring water is available in the future. The main strategy is to ensure that drought restrictions are required only once in every twenty years. Some ways of achieving this will be to limit the number of new marinas where there is a threat to supplies. They are also looking at bringing side ponds back into use, and altering the design of locks to try to engineer out leaks from them. They are also computer modelling the whole of the system, so as to be able to better monitor water. We can all do a bit by carrying out all those things that we are supposed to do like sharing locks, looking for boats coming the other way before turning a lock etc etc.

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Side ponds on the Caen Hill Flight of locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal. These are open side ponds that require no control.

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The side ponds on the Foxton flight are filled from the lock above and are required to fill the lock below so there is an extra paddle to control the flow. Hence the 'red before white and you'll be alright' slogan.

Whilst the reservoirs being full, having the rivers being full is not necessarily a good thing for navigating on them. Having to wait for river levels to drop and currents to ease before venturing out, may mean that plans have to be changed etc, but then we should always have the greatest regard for moving water and weather. I really feel that we, as 'modern' folk, almost feel that we can control everything with technology, but water is a very dangerous thing when roused. Water is not compressible so can be like a brick wall! And a moving brick wall at that!!

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It's not just the rivers that have floods, and clean ups afterwards. Here on on the Sheffield Navigation at Rotherham.

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