Macclesfield Canal water supply
© Copyright 2002 Graham Cousins and the Railway & Canal Historical Society.
One of the important aspects of the Act was the setting out of the powers which the Company was given with regard to water supply.34 The Company could not take any water from rivers, streams or springs which supplied mills, except in times of flood when there was an excess of water. Any watercourses which were diverted or crossed by the canal and its associated structures had to be taken under or alongside the canal and back into the original course. Two civil engineers were to be appointed to decide the matter of excess water. Nicholas Brown from Wakefield and Thomas Brown from Manchester were to represent the millowners and Canal Company respectively. They had to decide what was a sufficient water supply for each of the mills and then direct where weirs or water-gauges could be built which could supply the canal when there was an excess.
The Trent & Mersey Canal obtained its water supplies from the flood waters of the river Dane and other rivers and streams lying on the south and west sides of the Dane. It was enacted that no waters presently supplying the Trent & Mersey Canal could be used for the supply of the Macclesfield Canal. No water could be taken from the river Dane except at a level of at least ten feet below the weir from which flood waters of the river Dane were taken by the feeder to Rudyerd (Rudyard) reservoir; no water at all could be taken from the south and west sides of the Dane.
Numerous paragraphs in the Act relate to the joining of the Macclesfield Canal to the Peak Forest and Trent & Mersey canals. To prevent water being drawn off the summit pound of the Peak Forest Canal the Macclesfield Canal Company had to construct its canal so that the level of its summit pound was the same as that of the Peak Forest Canal. The sill of the upper gate(s) on the highest lock on the Macclesfield Canal had to be at the same level as the sill of the upper gate(s) of the highest lock on the Peak Forest Canal. The same applied to the height of the weir on the top locks of the two canals. A stop lock had to be built not more than 100 yards from the junction of the two canals to limit water flowing into the Macclesfield Canal if its water level happened, by any chance, to be lower than that of the Peak Forest Canal.
At the junction with the Trent & Mersey Canal two stop locks were to be built and maintained by the Macclesfield Canal Company. One lock was for the impounding of the water in the Trent & Mersey Canal, whilst the other lock was for impounding the waters of the Macclesfield Canal. The two stop locks were to be built so that the lock built for impounding the waters of the Macclesfield Canal would open into and lock six inches downwards to the top water level of the Harecastle summit of the Trent & Mersey Canal.
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