Falkirk canal operational again after blockage led to fish rescue mission

The Forth and Clyde Canal is operational once again in Falkirk – a week after fish had to be rescued following a blockage.

By Jonathon Reilly
Tuesday, 15th June 2021, 10:12 am
Updated Wednesday, 16th June 2021, 2:54 pm

Navigation was suspended along the route due to low water levels caused by an issue with an underground pipe near Townhead in Glasgow.

However, Scottish Canals has confirmed water supply to the area is back up and running and is expected to return to normal by the end of this week.

Various places across the Forth and Clyde Canal in Falkirk district and Glasgow experienced water shortages.

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The Forth and Clyde Canal's water level was very low at various locations, including Rosebank in Falkirk, following a pipeline supply issue. Picture: Michael Gillen.

The affected channel provides up to 70 per cent of the water needed to operate the canal and, as the remaining 30 per cent of supplies from reservoirs in the Kilsyth area were insufficient, there was a drop in water levels.

Fencing was installed and posters put on display to advise the public to stay away from the canal, lock gates and chambers and to keep out of the silt as all pose safety risks.

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A joint operation involving Amey and Transport Scotland, which operates the pipeline below the M8 motorway, took place over the weekend to rectify the problem as Scottish Canals conducted a controlled and limited water extraction from the River Kelvin over a 27-hour period.

Currently, 100 litres of water are now entering the Forth and Clyde Canal per second.

Scottish Canals worked closely with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to protect the fish stock on both the River Kelvin and the Forth and Clyde Canal.

A Scottish Canals spokesperson said: “Despite being limited, the water extraction helped to protect the ecology of the Forth and Clyde Canal whilst a professional fish rescue operation was undertaken along affected areas.

“For safety reasons, Scottish Canals’ staff will continue to monitor water levels on the Forth and Clyde Canal over the next few days before deciding to resume navigation.

“However, we are hopeful that boat movements will be able to start again over the weekend June 19/20.

“In the meantime, we will continue to keep boaters and other customers, partners, elected members and the wider public informed as well as updating our social media channels.”

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