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Thames Water explains low levels in New River

The New River has been reduced to a trickle of water in parts of Enfield in recent days, reports James Cracknell

An almost non-existent New River pictured on Sunday at Carterhatch Lane in Enfield
An almost non-existent New River pictured on Sunday at Carterhatch Lane in Enfield

Thames Water has explained why sections of the New River in Enfield have almost run dry in the last week.

Parts of the New River, which is famously neither new nor a river, have been reduced to a trickle of water, including at Bush Hill and at Carterhatch Lane.

Challenged on Twitter about the disappearance of the New River, which diverts water from the River Lea in Hertfordshire to provide drinking water for London, Thames Water responded to explain the mystery.

They said: “We’re currently completing our ten-yearly statutory tunnel and river bypass mains inspections along sections of the New River.

“As part of these inspections, the tunnels and bypass mains are cleaned and inspected for any potential structural deficiency issues. We must drop the river levels at specific sections to allow safe access to these tunnels as part of the cleaning and inspection process.


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“These works are expected to continue for another ten to twelve weeks due to the number of New River tunnels and bypass mains along the river’s 24-mile route. The safety of our onsite staff is paramount during these essential cleaning and inspection works.

“We’ll strive to manage the environmental impact of lowering the New River water levels during these times where possible.”

Concerns about the condition of the New River Loop in Enfield Town have previously been raised, however because the loop is cut off from the main flow it is not the responsibility of Thames Water. Enfield Council will shortly be publishing a management plan setting out improvements to its maintenance.


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