IWA - What We Do

IWA is a membership charity that works to protect and restore the country's 6,500 miles of canals and rivers.

IWA is a national organisation with a network of volunteers and branches who deploy their expertise and knowledge to work constructively with navigation authorities, government and other organisations.  The Association also provides practical and technical support to restoration projects through its expert Waterway Recovery Group.

As well as individual members, the Association has a substantial number of corporate members, many of whom are waterways related businesses.

Find out more about boating. Other member interests include waterways restoration, walking the waterways, industrial archaeology, wildlife and other waterside recreation.

Campaigns

IWA uses its extensive experience and member knowledge to formulate expert policies as well as undertake local and national campaigns that have a real impact on the UK's inland waterways. Take a look at our current campaigns.

Navigation Authorities

IWA works closely with navigation authorities such as Canal & River Trust (CRT), the Environment Agency and other waterways owners. These navigation authorities manage specific sections of the waterways network and IWA seeks to maintain constructive relationships with each one to influence policy and decision making.  The Association will also challenge them if they don't act in the best interests of IWA members or the waterways. As part of this approach, IWA and CRT signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 to acknowledge the intent for IWA to continue to shape the future of waterways maintained by CRT. IWA also works with other waterway bodies, a wide range of national and local authorities, voluntary, private and public sector organisations.

Restoration

IWA actively supports waterway restoration by providing expert advice and grants to local societies. IWA's Waterway Recovery Group has a long-established reputation in practical waterway regeneration. WRG organises a substantial yearly programme of week-long waterway restoration holidays, which include training for volunteers around the country, as well as carrying out specific work parties on most weekends through WRG's regional groups

Events to enjoy the waterways

Through its extensive national branch network, IWA organises and supports numerous waterways events across the country each year.  This not only delivers great days out at large festivals to the general public but also includes specific campaign events that promote key objectives, often in association with other waterways organisations, all aimed at making the waterways better. IWA events prompt communities to discover and enjoy the benefits of their local waterways heritage, often energising them towards regeneration of waterways amenities.

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Educating a new generation

IWA is keen to pass on knowledge and appreciation to future generations and Wild Over Waterways is the Association’s unique and dedicated programme of activities for children.  

Essex Waterways Ltd

As part of IWA’s activities, the Association saved the Chelmer and Blackwater Navigation from closure in 2005 and now manages this waterway through its subsidiary company, Essex Waterways Ltd.

Run by Volunteers

IWA is governed and run by volunteers, supported by a small team of staff. Many of our members volunteer for practical projects as well as influence policies and campaigns.  See IWA volunteer vacancy information.

JOIN IWA!

Current Campaigns

IWA uses its extensive experience and member knowledge to formulate expert policies as well as undertake local and national campaigns that have a real impact on the UK's inland waterways.

Find out more about our current campaigns.

Press Releases

Take a look at our recent press releases and other press information.