Objectives, current and upcoming activities are presented on the IWI page
Read and react to comments by members on our new blog.
IWI is compiling a bibliography of canal and waterway books, at present covering only titles published in English. See the Bibliography page
IWI's corporate members represent the rich diversity of canal and waterway authorities, societies and service providers. See logos and links to their web sites.
Waterways Ireland has completed restoration of the Royal Canal and is busy with plans for restoring the first section of the Ulster Canal from the Upper Lough Erne to Clones.
In the News
Sambre-Oise Protest Rally 2012 - A protest rally of boats was organised at Tupigny and Originy-Saint-Benoite, on the Canal de la Sambre à l'Oise, on April 22-24, to stimulate interest in reopening of this valuable link in the European waterway network. The canal has been closed since 2006 when the 50m long Vadencourt aqueduct presented a risk of failure (photo by Michael Clarke). Repairs were to be carried out in 2012, but one of the three local authority groupings committed to the project has recently withdrawn its funding.
Canalised river Cher - Common sense has prevailed on the river Cher in central France, where the government representative has listed the needle weir at Civray as a historic monument. A valuable step towards securing the future of this isolated navigation...
Map index to world canals - Maps identify issues on canals and waterways in different parts of the world. See the pages showing World Heritage Canals and (already designated by UNESCO or nominated at State level) and environmental issues on world waterways. These maps will be updated, and others added to identify New Projects, Missing Links, all areas in which IWI and its membership are concerned and frequently involved.
Cruising east via the Bug - 1960s hotel barging pioneer Richard Parsons gives an account of his attempts to plan cruising through the Polish river Bug and Belarus' and on to Moscow... and even Arkhangelsk! Read his personal diary of his research while in Warsaw in 2010.
Orleans Canal & Festival - Historian Charles Berg reports on the very successful 2011 River & Canal Festival in Orléans.
Members receive regular news of campaigns and developments in all areas through the magazine World Wide Waterways and newsletter IWI News. World Wide Waterways No 25 is currently in preparation.
Grand Canal, Living Heritage
Register* for WCC 2012 in Yangzhou China!
"Grand Canal, Living Heritage" is the theme of this year's World Canals Conference, the first to be held in Asia, on September 24-27. The venue is Yangzhou, a city rich in history and culture, situated at the junction of the Yangtze River and China's Grand Canal.
*Registration opened May 15th, on the Secure Registration and Payment Module (via PayPal).
The letter of invitation to delegates describes the venue as the confluence of 'two golden waterways running from west to east and from north to south'. It was 2500 years ago that the Hangou Canal, the earliest section of the Grand Canal, was excavated in Yangzhou. Since then, the Grand Canal has become the 'mother river' of Yangzhou.
To capitalise on this strategic position, and to support the process of bidding for the China Grand Canal to become a UNESCO World Heritage site, the city established in 2007 the China Yangzhou World Canal Cities Expo & Mayors'/Experts' Forum. Representatives of canal cities from all continents have since then met in Yangzhou every year to participate in this influential world forum, the 'Davos' of world canals. The themes were successively:
2007 - Promoting Sustainable Economic Development of Canal Cities
2008 - Strengthening Canal Conservation and Cultural Inheritance
2009 - Tourism Development of Canal Cities against the Financial Crisis
2010 - Canal Cities and Low-Carbon Economy, and
2011 - Design Upgrades Canal Cities
Following selection by IWI's WCC committee at Novi Sad (Serbia) in 2009, this year's Expo & Forum are combined with the 25th World Canals Conference. For the organisers and canal specialists worldwide, this makes it an even better opportunity for ideas to be exchanged and experience shared.
IWI has been directly supporting the organisation of the annual World Canals Conference since 2008, and since then the World Canal Cities Expo, Yangzhou and IWI have sent delegates to attend each other’s conference every year. Historian Mike Clarke attended the 3rd Forum, when the foundation stone was laid for the sumptuous new congress centre, the Permanent Site of the Forum, while Yangzhou delegates attended the WCC in Serbia. In 2010 a strong delegation came from Yangzhou to Rochester, NY, while IWI's secretary Dave MacDougall attended the 4th Forum. Then last year a 5-strong team from IWI went to Yangzhou, after the Yangzhou 2012 working group attended the WCC 2012 in Groningen, Netherlands.
We invite all waterway managers, professional and private users and advocates to visit China and Yangzhou in September, to meet experts and scholars from world canal cities waterway managers, IWI members and canal enthusiasts. All will be given a very warm welcome in Yangzhou.
The central theme will be the preservation of our canal and waterway heritage on all continents, while the host organisation will record and take into account the debate on the bidding process, whether for national or for world heritage status and recognition. The canal's present-day functions as a transport artery will also be a strong theme during the conference, which has four strands: 1 Canal economy, 2 Canal tourism, 3 Canal cities planning, 4 Canal culture & heritage protection and bidding.
WCC adopts Groningen Declaration
More than 200 waterway experts, managers and advocates attended the World Canals Conference at Groningen (Netherlands).
The full programme of conference sessions with speakers from many countries throughout the world, and the daily site visits, will be reviewed here and in our next newsletter. The first site visit on Monday September 19 took delegates to the completed section of the Erica-Ter Apel link between Groningen and Drenthe provinces, and the sites of the two locks on the summit level section to be completed by 2013. This view shows works on the deep lock with water-saving basin at the Emmen end of the summit level. Click here to read the Groningen Declaration in favour of inland waterways as living heritage.
The recently restored Kieldiep, part of the small canal route from Groningen to the Ems in Germany, on one of the many site visits made during the WCC in Groningen.
The first stop of IWI's tour of Bohemia and Saxony, on Thursday 7th April, was half way along the route of the Saale-Elster Canal. For a canal on which works stopped in 1942, the completed part offers all the appeal of a well-maintained inland waterway.
IWI is contributing to the work done by 17 regional partners from throughout the EU under the Interreg IV C Waterways Forward programme, which started in March 2010 and continues to the end of 2012. Our contribution is providing an interface between the waterways and their international users, present or potential. See the Waterways Forward web site.
restoration - first phase
The Ulster Canal restoration project is going ahead. This is a significant new North-South project, in the wake of the 1998 Good Friday agreement. The €200 million project, which also includes several cross-border roads, will be implemented jointly with the UK government departments responsible for infrastructure investments in Northern Ireland. The 74km canal links Lough Erne and Lough Neagh.
Local authorities expect the canal to be a catalyst for regeneration in the economically depressed border region, as was the Shannon-Erne waterway reopened in 1994. The IWAI believes that re-instating this missing link in Ireland's inland waterways network will bring major benefits to the communities living in the canal corridor and will be a major boost to the development of tourism in the region. IWI has also regularly featured the Ulster Canal in its publications.
Ireland's Waterways Map & Directory available to order.
Bezdan Lock campaign
IWI member Danube Propeller recently took part in the 'Danube Day' celebrations in Bezdan (Vojvodina, Serbia) on June 29. The event brought together seven local associations, all with a keen interest in restoration of the entrance lock to the Danube-Tisa-Danube canal system. Hence the question mark held by one of the Danube Propeller crew on this boat on the Danube side of the lock. The waterway manager Vode Vojvodine has produced plans for sensitive restoration of this lock, valuable heritage, but the final cost is expected to reach 2 million euros, which cannot be funded within the organisation's current investment budget.
Deûle-Scheldt Canal reopened
The Roubaix and Espierres Canals are open to regular navigation, following the completion of dredging works on the 8km long Belgian Canal. IWI's role in the campaign to save the canal was recognised, when it was invited to be part of the celebrations held on the border section of the canal on June 2nd. IWI was represented by Brian and Velma Kirton. Notice of passage is to be given at each end of the canal, so that SPW (in Belgium) and LMCU (in France) can arrange for the locks and movable bridges to be operated.
The 3rd edition of the European Waterways Map & Concise Directory was published in 2008, with new mapping for many areas. The overview map extends throughout Eastern Europe, while the enlargement on the reverse shows the network from the UK through to Bratislava on the Danube in fine detail.The 64p directory is illustrated with colour photographs and maps for certain parts of the network: the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Serbia,... The new directory is a mine of information, where we can learn about a canal restored in Belarus, a terminal built on the Danube in Moldova, and the 'double lift and aqueduct' planned to cross a motorway on the Göta Canal in Sweden. This edition gives a balanced view of the present situation, and the result is a publication of value for studying, visiting and campaigning for the heritage of navigations throughout Europe. The map may now be acquired from Internat Ltd via our online shop(£13.50)