Boat owners on UK’s longest canal stuck amid record water shortage | Water

Boat owners on the UK’s longest canal will not be able to move their boats next week, due to a water shortage, while 5 million people have been warned they may be soon facing a hosepipe ban.

Stretches of the Leeds-Liverpool canal will be closed during periods next week after a lack of rainfall has led to low levels in some yorkshire and Lancashire reservoirs, leaving canal locks unable to be filled.

yorkshire Water has also warned it may have to implement water restrictions, such as a hosepipe ban, as water stocks are 18% down on the usual for this time of year.

Neil Dewis, head of water at Yorkshire Water, which serves more than 5 million people, said water levels in the region’s reservoirs are now as low as they were in 1995, when 400 tankers of water needed to be brought in from elsewhere in the country .

He said: “There has been very little rain with just some short, sharp showers that don’t deliver the water we need in our reservoirs and rivers.”

Opening times for many locks on the Leeds-Liverpool canal had been reduced in May, with some being padlocked from 4pm in order to conserve water, but a lack of recent rainfall has prompted more drastic measures.

Water usage on the canal reached a record high in June due to an increase in the movement of boats when a lock near Skipton, North Yorkshire, was reopened after repair work. A total of 20,000 liters of water are used every time a boat passes through a lock.

The hot dry weather has also led to a warning from emergency services and water safety charities about the dangers of swimming in open water during the heatwave

Tributes have now been paid to two 16-year-old boys who drowned in separate incidents just days apart this week.

The family of Jamie Lewin, a promising boxer who drowned at a quarter near Wigan on Saturday evening, described their sound as “one in a million”.

The teenager from Southport, Lancashire, died after swimming in the water at Dawber Delph, Appley Bridge, which had previously claimed the lives of two other teenagers in 2016 and 1999 and was subject to a local campaign to restrict access.

In a statement released through Lancashire Constabulary his mother, Steph Lewin, described Jamie as “a promising boxer who loved life and had so much to look forward to”.

She said: “He was so loved by everyone.”

Jamie’s death came only two days before the drowning of another 16-year-old boy, Alfie McCraw, whose body was pulled from a West Yorkshire canal on Monday.

Police received reports that a boy had got into trouble in the South Washlands area of ​​the Aire and Calder Navigation, near Wakefield. Emergency services later recovered the body of Alfie, who was from the local area and had just finished his GCSE exams.

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Wakefield District station Cmdr Jimmy Fitt said: “This is a truly tragic incident and our thoughts go out to all Alfie’s loved ones.

“When the warm weather comes around, we do see a spike in the number of people entering water – and this can unfortunately prove fatal.

“Our advice is to not go into any area of ​​water that isn’t supervised – as the pull of water, cold water shock and hidden dangers can mean even strong swimmers get into difficulty.”

About 400 people drown each year in the UK, while in July 2021, there were 49 accidental drowning fatalities in the space of just two weeks across the country.

Lee Heard, charity director at The Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) UK said: “I deeply regret to say we have already seen a number of drownings already in the past few weeks as the temperatures have soared.

“It is vital to ensure that everyone has an understanding of water safety and makes it their responsibility to educate their family and friends on how water can be enjoyed safely to prevent such tragedies.”

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