The proposed route for the M66 motorway threatened to make the restoration of the Rochdale Canal impossible. The future of the Anderton Lift, giving access between the Trent & Mersey Canal and the River Weaver, which had been closed since 1983 was also subject of a restoration campaign; the Anderton Boat Lift Development Group was formed.
As part of a Milton Keynes facelift, the IWA mural at Wolverton was painted by local artist Bill Billings.
As befitted the fortieth anniversary year, there was an IWA National Festival (instead of the usual rally) held at Brentford on the Grand Union Main Line. Around 450 boats attended and on the previous weekend about 70 boats cruised the London Ring.
IWA Waterways for Youth campaign started under the leadership of John Gagg. Another rally was held to support the restoration of the Anderton Lift.
In September, the first boat passed through the restored Frankton Locks on the Montgomery Canal.
After 3 years, IWA's national rally returned to Hawkesbury, on the junction of the Oxford and Coventry canals. It attracted around 50,000 people and 530 boats.
A further £100,000 was guaranteed to the Yorkshire Derwent Trust by IWA in support of the Trust's legal action to prove rights of navigation.
In February, British Waterways and the Anderton Boat Lift Development Group displayed the first phase of the lift's restoration. On the Thames, IWA was concerned with the lack of capacity at some locks and was able to negotiate some improvements in the provision of visitor licences.
The battle for future navigation on the Rochdale Canal was won when it was announced that the M66 motorway would be built to allow navigation when the canal was restored.
IWA's National Boat Rally and Carnival was held at Castlefield at the junction of the Bridgewater Canal and the Rochdale Canal in the centre of Manchester. The Waterways for Youth "Waterways Passport" scheme was introduced.
David Stevenson took over from Ken Goodwin as IWA National Chairman.
A discussion on the development of waterside properties was sparked off in IWA Waterways by John Gagg, and continued throughout the year. Many restoration schemes continued and some new ones had appeared over the past ten years.
IWA's National Festival at Waltham Abbey, on the River Lee, was sponsored by Volvo Penta. It attracted 525 boats and 50,000 visitors. The National Trailboat Rally was attended by 125 boats at Glasson on the Lancaster Canal. This highlighted the campaign for the Northern Reaches and the Ribble Link. IWA membership reached 22,000.