The newly formed Environment Agency took over the National Rivers Authority's responsibilities. IWA had argued for a single body covering both British Waterways and NRA navigations. There were concerns that the proposed Landfill Tax would unfairly apply to dredgings from waterways.
The new Pomona Lock opened replacing Hulme Lock as the link between the Bridgewater Canal and the Manchester Ship Canal. Another mile and a half of the Montgomery Canal was reopened below Frankton Locks.
IWA's National Trailboat Festival was held at Linthwaite on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. The Inland Waterways Association's National Festival was held at Chester on the Shropshire Union Canal.
The Rochdale Canal was reconnected with the national waterways system by the opening of the new Tuel Lane Lock. The final length of the Ripon Canal was reopened to Ripon Basin and another stretch of the Montgomery Canal was opened to the Queens Head.
In IWA's Golden Jubilee Year, all IWA branches and regions contributed to the Jubilee Jigsaw.
The Heritage Lottery Fund made a grant - its largest ever at the time - of £25 million, for improvements to the Kennet & Avon Canal.
In early May, at Canalway Cavalcade, IWA took delivery of its own narrowboat, Jubilee, provided by sponsors. It was also this year that IWA's first website was established.
The National Trailboat Festival was held near Welshpool on the Montgomery Canal. IWA's National Festival was held at Windmill End on the Dudley Canal. IWA Membership was 17,501.
The Anderton Boat Lift Trust submitted a bid to the National Heritage Lottery Board and the Millennium Commission announced a grant of up to £32 million for Scotland's Millennium Link to restore the Forth & Clyde and Edinburgh & Glasgow Union canals, plus £2.7 million for the Ribble Link.
A dry summer caused water shortages on some waterways, and restrictions and temporary back pumping systems were introduced by British Waterways to keep canals open.
IWA's National Festival was held at Henley-on-the-Thames, attended by 27,500 people, 558 boat and 336 caravans.
A National Heritage Lottery Grant of £2.2 million was awarded towards the development of a waterways museum at Banbury, on the Oxford Canal, which was to incorporate Tooley's Boatyard. Exceptionally heavy rain at Easter caused floods on many rivers and canals, with much damage to boats and other property, as well as loss of life.
IWA's Head Office moved from 114 Regent's Park Road, London, NW1 to 3 Norfolk Court, Norfolk Road, Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
IWA's National Festival was held at Salford Quays on the Manchester Ship Canal. The photograph shows part of an IWA convoy of boats that crossed the Mersey on the way to the Festival.
Audrey Smith retired as national chairman, and was succeeded by Richard Drake.
The recently reopened Bugsworth Basin on the Peak Forest Canal was used by boats following problems with leakage. It closed again in the Autumn due to a breach in the entrance canal. The Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal Trust secured a section of canal at Over, near Gloucester. The Anderton Boat Lift Trust received a £3.3 million grant for the restoration of the Anderton Boat Lift.
Concerns about the European Recreation Craft Directive were expressed by IWA, particularly in relationship to the noise and exhaust emissions of historic craft and engines.
IWA's National Festival was held at Worcester on the River Severn. IWA membership was 16,869.
In July, British Waterways supported the plan for a Bedford & Milton Keynes Waterway.
The new basin at Over on the Herefordshire & Gloucestershire Canal was opened in September by Prunella Scales and Timothy West. Much of the work had been carried out by IWA's Waterway Recovery Group.
Two IWA National Trailboat Festivals were held; one on the Monmouthshire Canal and the other at Moira on the Ashby Canal. IWA's National Festival was held at Waltham Abbey on the River Lee. IWA membership was 16,739.