Flooding Situation on UK Waterways

Flooding Situation on UK Waterways

14 February 2014

The recent prolonged rainfall has seen flooding in many areas, particularly in the South East and water levels are still high in many areas.

The first week of February saw flooding on the southern Grand Union Canal, with various sections of the canal south of Leighton Buzzard overtopping on to towpaths and the canal was closed in parts so that Canal & River Trust could drain water from the summit towards the Great Ouse catchment, helping to reduce flows towards the Thames.

The lower Oxford Canal was flooded at Lower Shuckburgh, Banbury Lock, Nell Bridge, Shipton, Aynho, Somerton and Lower Heyford, with high flows preventing navigation on the River Cherwell section.

The River Kennet section of the Kennet & Avon Canal, Warwickshire Avon, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation, River Wey, upper Lea & Stort Navigationsand Bristol Avon are also largely unnavigable due to high water flows and flooding.

There are also closures at various places on the Llangollen, Shropshire Union and Leeds & Liverpool Canals, with fallen trees and debris from adjacent buildings following the high winds on 12th February.

There has been widespread news coverage of the floods along the Thames, particularly in Berkshire and Surrey, which saw homes evacuated. The River Severn has flooded throughout its navigable length, and the western end of Droitwich Barge Canal has been closed. Flood gates and locks have also been closed along the Aire & Calder Navigations and the Trent.

The Environment Agency has said it had never issued as many severe flood warnings and that many areas had seen more than double their average rainfall for the time of year.

Scientists at the British Geological Survey say there is a risk of groundwater floods. Levels are likely to keep rising even if there is no more rain, as so much water is soaking through the soil.

Find out about how to protect yourself and your boat from floods at the CRT website.

Photo: Extent of the Thames Flooding, Chertsey Meads (photo by National Police Air Service Redhill)

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