Following continued dry weather in some parts of the UK, British Waterways (BW) has published details of overnight lock closures at targeted locations in the Midlands and South that will help make the most of available water resources throughout the boating season.

Low water levels

The restrictions, which came into effect on parts of the Grand Union and Oxford Canals at the end of March, will see boat movements controlled in some key locations with gates being locked at the end of each day to minimise wastage through vandalism or paddles being left open. Similar measures will be in place on the Kennet & Avon Canal as groundwater levels fall. These restrictions will be reviewed throughout the season and adjusted where appropriate and special openings will be considered at peak times such as Bank Holiday weekends.

Vince Moran, Operations Director, explains: “We don’t want to restrict opening times, particularly so early in the season, but I’m sure most boaters would recognise that this is an unusual year. That’s why we’re investing a significant amount of money on a package of schemes focused solely on maintaining navigation on the vast majority of the network throughout the main boating season.

“However, it would be foolish of us to make this investment if we weren’t then careful with the water that it yields and that’s why we’re implementing these restrictions at selected locations in order to ensure we use water sensibly and responsibly to see us through the summer”.

BW has produced special maps showing the restrictions and the varying drought risk across the network as a tool to help boaters plan their journeys. The navigational maps will be updated on a monthly basis and published with reservoir reports at