River Wye – hot dry weather, navigation in low levels and flows

We have received the following advice sent to canoeing operators from the Environment Agency (which is responsible for navigational aspects of the River Wye downstream of Hay, although “NRW will follow the same approach for the Glasbury to Hay section”):

“Dear All,

“You will all be even more conscious than we are of the current dry, hot spell of weather.

“Unfortunately this is not great news if the current situation continues and the forecast of exceptionally high temperatures materialises causing the situation to deteriorate further.

“I’ve previously shared the attached briefing note but here it is again as we are now at the point where we have entered phase 2.

“Phase 2: Active monitoring of the canoeing activity will continue. If water levels are low enough to be considered a significant risk to ecology, vulnerable stretches may be temporarily restricted to navigation by implementing Article 19 (c) of the Wye Navigation Order 2002. Any restrictions will be kept to a minimum. Advisory notices showing restricted areas will be displayed at the nearest upstream and downstream public access points. Affected user groups will be contacted and informed directly. As a guide, we will use a trigger level of 133 million gallons per day (7 m3/s)* and a river height of 0.15m (2019) at NRW’s Redbrook Gauging Station to initiate Phase 2.

“Your own customers will be best placed to report back on stretches where levels have fallen to the point where they are repeatedly grounding. Please share any of this intelligence with me and try to focus your medium term plans towards putting canoes on the water in deeper stretches.

At the moment there are 2 problem areas we’ve been alerted about; the section between Hereford and Hampton Bishop is one and the second one is around Ross.

“With no real let-up in the forecast in the next couple of weeks the Wye is virtually certain to drop lower in the coming days.

“I will keep you as up to date as I can in the coming days but for those of you who use social media our Comms team will be putting messages out on Twitter.”

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