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Issue 492 - January 2014

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February 2014

Chairman’s Column

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On behalf of the Southampton Canal Society I wish you all a Happy and Enjoyable New Year for 2014.

January Meeting

We all look forward with eagerness to our Members’ Photographic Evening and especially the Competition. The meeting gives us all the opportunity to share our boating experiences and the “fun” we have and see around us on the waterways.

Thank you to David Doulton for offering again the use of his digital projector.

Society Christmas / New Year Lunch

We have organised our now traditional Christmas/New Year Lunch which will be held on Saturday 11th January starting at 12 noon. The venue will as usual be The Blue Hayes Restaurant, Salisbury Road, Shootash, Romsey, SO51 6GA.

The cost of the lunch is £19.95 and as discussed, please make your payment direct to the Blue Hayes by Cash or Cheque on the day.

As usual, please bring along any unused Christmas crackers, party poppers and the like.

February Meeting

Geoffrey Watts, a member of the “Titanic Society” will speak about the Tragedy and the effect on the people of Southampton, showing the various memorials around the town.

March Meeting

Stuart fisher, editor of the Canoeist Magazine, gives a canoeist’s view of the canal system with particular emphasis on the canals that cannot be reached by narrow boat.

Alan Rose

Itchen Navigation Footpath Closures

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Your editor has heard that the Itchen Navigation Footpath at Withymead Lock, north of Bishopstoke, reopened to walkers shortly before Christmas. The path was closed last June as a result of vandalism to the footbridge crossing the head of the lock. Hampshire County Council's Rights of Way team were able to install a bridge donated by a local landowner.

The section of path further north at Brambridge between Kiln Lane and Highbridge Road was repaired in a project involving The Friends of the Itchen Navigation Volunteers, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Hampshire County Council’s Rights of Way team and the Environment Agency. This was reopened several months ago though there still remains work to improve the surface of the footpath.

The old footbridge

The old bridge at Withymead Lock pictured in 2003 © Peter Oates

Forward planning on the Kennet & Avon Canal

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As part of a £945,000 scheme, seven lock bypass weirs are being installed on the Kennet & Avon Canal, in a bid to reduce levels of rural diffuse pollution and to improve the ecological status of the rivers Dun and Kennet SSSI, as well as the Kennet & Avon Canal.

With the Water Framework Directive setting targets to drive water quality improvements, the Canal River Trust (CRT) are implementing changes in an effort to work towards these targets. On the Kennet & Avon Canal, CRT are working with the Kennet Catchment Partnership to install seven lock bypass weirs over a six kilometre stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal in Bedwyn, Wiltshire.

Currently, under higher flow conditions, existing canal overspill weirs help prevent flooding of the canal by transferring excess water directly to the River Dun. On the Kennet & Avon Canal, there are a number of locations where agricultural run-off and sewage treatment effluent can enter the watercourse. These, and other point sources, generate significant volumes of suspended solids and nutrients which in a slow flowing canal can encourage the growth of algal blooms. Subsequent to heavy rainfall events, the algae and sediment rich canal water is then transferred to the more sensitive River Dun via existing overspill weirs along the canal.

The installation of seven new bypass weirs will ensure that surplus canal water generated by heavy rainfall will remain in the canal, rather than spilling over to the more sensitive River Dun ecosystem. It is also hoped that the general water quality of the canal will improve, as the new weirs will increase the flow of the water and therefore reduce the occurrence of algal blooms.

14 Olympic sized swimming pools

The bypass will channel around 35,000 cubic metres of water on a daily basis, or the equivalent of 14 Olympic sized swimming pools. The scheme is the end product of several years of partnership working with local partners.

Environment manager for Wales and West, and ecologist for the Kennet & Avon Canal, Oda Dijksterhuis, said: “These lock bypass weirs will help to separate the water from the canal and that of the rivers Dun and Kennet SSSI over quite a stretch of the Kennet & Avon Canal, providing valuable benefits for aquatic ecology.”

The Thames River Trust provided a £80,000 grant for the design of the project and over £600,000 for the construction came courtesy of the Catchment Restoration Fund (a DEFRA source of funding for water quality improvements) via the EA. The remaining £265,000 construction funding as well as engineering input, project management and environmental support was supplied the CRT.

11 November 2013

December Meeting

The Annual Inter-Society Waterways Quiz

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As always, our 2013 programme rounded off with the very popular Inter-Society Waterways Quiz. Thirty seven members and guests supported the three teams:

As last year’s winners IWA Guildford & Reading arranged with Martin Ludgate to be their Quiz Master with Sue Lewis, SCS member who took on the task of keeping us up to date with the scores for each round.

Martin started us off with general knowledge questions followed by the dates of Canal Openings. Not many points separated the teams at this point.

Naming Canal Junctions and sorting current names for the old canal waterways separated the teams and Southampton tailed away.

Salisbury’s team soon followed leaving Guildford & Reading to gallop ahead and were deservedly presented with the magnificent Inter-Society Waterways Quiz Trophy.

Many thanks to Martin for organising the Quiz and to Sue the scorer and to all the team members for their participation. Thanks to all who generously donated raffle prizes and especially to Pam McKeown for her now traditional prize of a great home-baked Christmas Cake.

The evening finished with the traditional American Supper - many thanks to our members for providing such a wide selection of delicious food and to those who assisted in the galley and the setting up and clearing of the furniture.

Angela Rose

The winning team

Above: The winning team - (l to r) David Daines, Ben Scott (captain), Gareth Jones and Robin Higgs with the SCS Chairman.

Below: The scorer Sue Lewis. Below centre: The audience prize winner - Eric Lewis. Bottom: The Quizmaster - Martin Ludgate.

Pictures: © Paul Herbert

The scorer The audience prize winner The quizmaster

Rivers suffer from overdose of tablets

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Thank you to Brian Evans for spotting the following in Romsey’s local paper:

EXPERTS have warned that Hampshire’s rivers are facing a new threat – dishwasher tablets.

New studies show that chalk streams which feed into the rivers Test and Itchen have high levels of phosphorus and environmental groups blame domestic cleaning products, particularly dishwasher tablets.

The Itchen failed a recent chemical quality test from the Environment Agency, which predicted it is likely to fail again in 2015 – putting it in the “at risk” category.

The issue was discussed when more than 100 people gathered at Sparsholt College for The Chalk Stream Headwaters Forum, led by the Vitacress Conservation Trust (VCT).

Graham Roberts, of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, called the condition of the Itchen, a designated special area of conservation, “disgusting”.

He said: “This is a real menace. It’s changing the whole ecology of the river. It’s not rocket science. This needs to be sorted.

“I have had 27 phone calls and over 109 emails recently, particularly pertinent to the River Itchen.

“No water should be discharged with a quality worse than when it was abstracted: that’s not an unreasonable aim to have.”

Agricultural run-off, with fertilizers washed off the land and into rivers, also contributes to elevated phosphate, while antiquated sewage works, and watercress and fish farms are also cause for concern, the meeting heard.

There are 161 chalk streams in Britain - 95 per cent of the world’s total - and most are located in the south-east of England.

The problem is made worse because in rural areas the vast majority of houses use private drainage, and pollutants can find their way into river systems from septic tanks.

Alex Poynter, of Birmingham University, who has been researching the issue for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said the number of cleaning products in the UK containing phosphorus is “quite scary”.

Dr Steve Rothwell, of the VCT, said: “The UK is unusual in Europe because many EU countries long ago banned detergent products with phosphorus and the UK never has.

“In Hampshire phosphorus is a big problem. You get too much algae growing in the rivers as a result and it starts to out-compete the other plants you want. We know septic tanks are a problem.

“The chalk streams are so clear because they lack phosphorus, but if you add any it’s like adding fertilizer and you get all this growth.”

27 November 2013

So, the lesson seems to be: watch how much and what type of detergent / cleaning agent you use in your dishwasher (including washing machines and all cleaning tasks)!

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Page created 30 December 2013 - last updated 4 February 2014.

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