Canals Trust says severe water shortage in Newport canal caused by ‘number of factors’

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A canals trust has said it is “very concerned” at the low water levels in one of South Wales’ main canal networks.

The Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust said on Monday that it has been made aware of ongoing low water levels in areas of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal in Newport, Torfaen and Caerphilly.

It comes after residents in Rogerstone raised concerns over the “sad state” of areas of the canal, which they said was “now only a few centimetres deep and completely dried out in some places.”

One resident said they feared for wildlife habitats if the issue wasn’t addressed. Read what they said here.

In a statement on Monday the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny Canals Trust said: “The severe water shortage on both the Main Line and Crumlin Arm on the Mon & Brec canal in the Torfaen County Borough Council and Newport City Council areas has been reported by many concerned residents. Our trust has also been very concerned.”



The water levels at Fourteen locks, Rogerstone, has dropped and looks very low

Saying it had been liaising with local councils on the issue, the trust said there were a number of reasons behind the shortages.

It said a crucial source of water for the area of canal between Cwmcarn and Newport had been “cut off due to the duelling of the A467, which also destroyed three miles of canal.”

It said Caerphilly County Borough Council were also carrying out “major canal relining works which have resulted in no water flow down the canal to Newport”, adding that a top-up feeder at Manor Road in Risca which diverts surface water from the Ty Sign housing estate into the canal has had to be shut down due to the water becoming polluted.

The trust said it had been “assured by Caerphilly County Borough Council that arrangements have now been put in place to pump water over the relining works area.

“The Manor Road feeder will also be turned on with daily monitoring of water quality. Our trust will also ask Welsh Water to track down the source of the polluted water. Newport City Council have informed us that they will be installing stop planks sealed with clay to conserve water at strategic locations along the Crumlin Arm.”



The low levels in parts of the canal have resulted in residents raising concerns over destruction to wildlife habitats

Regarding the main line between Brecon and Newport, the trust said many of the structures and culverts installed had “impeded free flow of the water south, which is exacerbated when we have long period of dry weather, as we have had until recently.”

It also said thrust boring works near Bridge 46 at South Sebastopol, blockages of two canal feeders, leaks in the canal bed in the Pentre Lane area and rotting of the the lock gates at Ty Ffynnon lock had all contributed to the current shortages.

“Works are well under way at Bridge 46 to reline the canal and remove the temporary dams. We look forward to the completion of the work when normal water flow, and navigation to Five Locks can resume,” it said.

“We have had discussions with Torfaen County Borough Council who have confirmed that they are inspecting known past leakage points for problems and intend carrying out survey works in order to identify the source of the leaks at Pentre Lane, and produce estimates for their repair. The blockages to the feeders have been removed.

“Newport City Council have said that the low level of water in their section of the canal is due to no water crossing the boundaries from both Torfaen and Caerphilly Council areas. They have confirmed that they intend installing stop planks with clay sealing in order to preserve any future water flows.

“We are grateful to users of the canal who have raised issues with the relevant canal owners.”



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