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Inland waterways are an integral part of British life and landscape, stretching for 5,000 miles across the urban and rural landscape. Millions of us visit them every year to fish, boat, walk the towpaths, observe wildlife or simply soak up the views, yet these blue-green corridors are constantly under threat from a serious lack of funding and investment.

In a bid to highlight the value and importance of the waterways network, the Inland Waterways Association (IWA), the only independent, national charity dedicated to supporting and regenerating all of Britain’s navigable rivers and canals, has produced a new report, Waterways for Today. The report demonstrates how inland waterways can contribute to the country’s economic recovery and outlines the 12 most significant ways that inland waterways can benefit the economy, environment, local communities and lives of individual people.

Waterways for Today Time Capsule

IWA is planning to create a time capsule as part of its Waterways for Today campaign. The idea is that in the future, people will know just what an important role the waterways played in our lives, especially during the Covid pandemic and in these post-Covid times. A USB drive filled with comments about the waterways will be stored in the capsule and IWA would like your remarks and observations to be included. Simply visit IWA’s website: You will be asked to type in your thoughts and feelings about the waterways, which will then be recorded for posterity.

Did you know?

Boat-based tourism and leisure activities contribute £2.5bn to the economy each year.

Waterways offer opportunities to mitigate flooding, transfer drinking water and provide habitat corridors for wildlife and biodiversity as well as contributing to improved health and wellbeing.

Over three million people live within a mile of a derelict waterway that could be brought back to life. Once restored, each of these waterways will bring many benefits to the local communities they serve, but by restoring all of them, there is an opportunity to link up the wider network and bring benefits on a national scale.

Our waterways enhance the lives of so many people. We would love to hear what they mean to you. If you would like to get involved in protecting and restoring the waterways in your area, please visit the IWA website for information and ideas, or join us and become an IWA member. Visit for more information.


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