Green Win sharing opportunity

Darren Parkinson, from Canal and River Trust (CRT), introduced everyone and set out the aims of the session:

To give engineers and experts from Canal & River Trust , Voies Navigables de France (VNF) and Waterways Ireland (WI) the opportunity to discuss the different approaches each organisation takes to hydraulic management systems, water management, and use of automated systems such as SCADA telemetry.

CRT Water Management System


Adam Comerford, CRT’s National Hydrology Manager, gave a presentation about CRT’s overall approach to managing water, its water resources strategy and the challenges & opportunities faced. These often feature the extremes of drought and flood conditions, a common issue across our organisations and others in North West Europe.


Examples of recent events CRT have had to deal with were given, such as major breaches, and the damaged spillway at Toddbrook Reservoir which could have had severe consequences if not tackled (at great cost).

CRT’s first Water Management Strategy published October 2015 had 14 Strategic Actions over five year cycle with annual updates published online. CRT’s new strategy has 5 Strategic Actions;

  1. Continue to aspire to meet CRT’s 1 in 20-year level of service for navigation, work with others to identify best practice in water resources management, innovate to allow us to manage and deploy our water resources efficiently.
  2. Develop a conceptual waterway model to improve understanding of the water resources benefits and value of our network to others, link to Government Grant Review, explore alternative funding streams to improve our water resources resilience.
  3. Progress hydrological modelling to quantify our current standard of supply against aspirational 1 in 20yr level of service.
  4. Assess Pressures affecting water resource’s reliability.
  5. Work collaboratively with key partners to identify opportunities to improve water resource resilience.

 In summary he said that Water Management is a complex task covering extremes of drought and flood. Future pressures will add to the challenge. Technical expertise is at the core of what we do, at both operational & strategic levels.

CRT’s SCADA system


Adrian Cooper explained how CRT’s Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition system (SCADA) is used for water monitoring structures, pump / sluice sites and to provide boat counts. Essentially SCADA is all about monitoring and managing water levels and flows. Gave examples of uses;   

Where CRT warn boaters not to travel onto the rivers in high flow situations - particularly for places where canals re-join a river. The river is not usually a “managed water system” and could have a strong-stream and boats can struggle to go up it. Our canal boats don’t have strong motors on them like our European counterparts.

System is not just monitoring the “reservoir level” CRT also monitor things such as the v-notches and piezo-levels to detect leakages on the embankment. Formerly an engineer would have had to go out either every day, week or month and take readings and record them in a book.  In bad weather, the bank could dangerous and difficult for engineers to get out there and take readings. These new devices take an hourly reading every day 24/7. They ‘wake up’ every 6 hours and send the reading in.

Jonathan Rayson explained in detail how the IT side of the system works, and how CRT records and accesses data and how through a few intermediary steps the live / current data is displayed to users within CRT. The system allows us to easily manage the recipients of an alarm.  Once an alarm is triggered in the system, it escalates until it has been acknowledged.

Overview of VNF hydraulic management project


Gregory Decosta gave a brief overview of VNF’s hydraulic management project which manages their 6,700 km of canals, rivers, and canalised rivers. Explained that the three main objectives were:

  • Water supply (Drinking water, agriculture, industry, navigation, …)
  • Contribution to flood management, and
  • Management of low water periods.

Share this

Tweet Share