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  • Writer's pictureTallulah

What happens to canals and rivers with poor water management?


Water management example

Excellent water management is essential to ensure canals, rivers and other watercourses are preserved and functional. If this management falters, a ripple effect of issues can quickly unfold which could impact both the environment and surrounding infrastructure. In this article, we delve into the repercussions of poor water management on the network of canals and rivers in the UK, examining how neglect can lead to erosion, decay, ecological imbalance, and more. 


  1. Banks erode


One of the most visible consequences of poor water management is the erosion of canals and riverbanks. As water levels fluctuate unpredictably due to inadequate management, the banks are subjected to continuous stress. The destabilisation of these banks not only compromises the structural integrity of the waterway, but also poses a threat to adjacent lands and infrastructure. To safeguard against potential erosion and to ensure the stability of banks, innovative bank protection strategies are required.


2. Lock gates rot


Lock gates are essential components of canal systems, and unfortunately, they are particularly susceptible to deterioration when water management is poor. Inadequate water levels and irregular maintenance contribute to the rotting of lock gates, compromising their functionality. This not only disrupts water navigation but also adds an additional layer of costly repairs to the overall infrastructure. To combat this potential issue proactive maintenance is required with approaches tailored to the specific challenges of each canal system.


3. Overgrown pathways


Pathways alongside canals and rivers were once bustling with activity, however in today’s world they can succumb to neglect and poor water management. The lack of regulation in water levels and inadequate vegetation management allows greenery to flourish, gradually overtaking these pathways as nature encroaches. This not only diminishes their functionality but also poses safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists.


4. Unstable wall banks


Wall banks are integral to the structure of canals and rivers; however, they can become vulnerable in areas of poor water management. The often-fluctuating water levels and inadequate wall bank maintenance contribute to the instability of these structures, leading to potential collapses. The consequences extend beyond immediate structural damage, impacting adjacent properties and the overall safety of the waterway.


5. Buildup of litter and trash


Poor water management not only affects the physical structure of canals and rivers but also gives rise to environmental issues. Neglected waterways become magnets for litter, compromising water quality, harming aquatic life, and detracting from the aesthetic appeal of these natural corridors. Careful management of litter with wier booms and litter screens is required to maintain water quality and ecosystem health, and initiatives should be designed to align with the environmental regulations that ensure responsible waste management.


  1. Ecological imbalances


Perhaps the most significant impact of poor water management is the disruption of ecosystems. Fluctuating water levels, pollution, and habitat degradation upset the delicate balance of flora and fauna in and around canals and rivers. Biodiversity dwindles, and once-thriving ecosystems transform into ecological deserts. A strong commitment to environmental sustainability can help to both restore and maintain the delicate balance, and we are committed to preserving the unique biodiversity of our waterways.


The Rothen Group – Navigating towards responsible water management


The consequences of poor water management within canals and rivers are far-reaching, affecting both the infrastructure and the environment. Through a proactive and holistic approach, here at The Rothen Group we strive to mitigate these issues, offering solutions that not only address immediate concerns but also contribute to the long-term health and sustainability of these vital waterways. To find out more about how we aim to create a resilient and thriving aquatic landscape for generations to come, please contact our team today.

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