Research has shown that the restoration of waterways can bring economic, social and environment benefits to an area. Examples of such restored waterways include the Kennet & Avon Canal, Forth & Clyde Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.
Economic benefits can include the creation of jobs as well as increased leisure and tourism. Social benefits can include sense of community through campaigning and volunteering for a local project as well as benefits to health through increased opportunities for cycling and walking. Environmental benefits include creating habitats to increase bio-diversity of wildlife.
The University of Northampton has recently carried out research into the benefits of restoration. Take a look at a summary of the benefits of waterways restoration (3.7MB PDF). Some of the highlights are featured in the 'Water Adds Value' video below.
You can also take a look at other studies reports from restoration groups.