The project’s aim is to divert water from Minworth Waste Water Treatment Facility, which normally flows into the River Tame and on to the Trent/Humber and out to sea, and transfer it to the South East where water is in short supply. Using the Grand Union Canal as a conduit for this is one of several schemes being evaluated. Water would be taken by pipeline (two possible routes) to join the canal near Braunston. It would then be abstracted in Hertfordshire: possible locations are Leighton Buzzard, Tring or Hemel Hempstead. The EA favours Leighton Buzzard so that water is not taken over the Tring summit as apparently this could adversely affect chalk streams in the area.
The project also aims to improve biodiversity, could tackle the problem of invasive species etc. For example, zander and signal crayfish are prevalent in some parts and their spread must be avoided. The whole canal will be surveyed, pound by pound, to inform calculations of flow and how a slight increase in water level might affect boating (e.g. under low bridges).
The project group needs local information from other parties to flag up any constraints they might face. I suggested that they contact boat clubs; their members will be aware not just of boating issues but also be representatives of local communities. They may also be able to identify other opportunities for improvement (e.g. to towpaths). If members who are particularly familiar with the GU between Braunston and Tring know of any issues that the project leaders should take into consideration, please let me know and I will pass them on.