A 700m section of the Lancaster Canal is likely to be closed to boaters until the end of July after leaks were discovered.
The canal between Halton Road (bridge 108) and 370m north of Dolphinlee Bridge (bridge 105) has been drained of water and engineers are working seven days a week to repair three holes found in the clay bed of the canal around 100m south of the aqueduct.
Lynn Pegler, from the Canal and Rivers Trust, which looks after the waterway said: “These have caused water to seep down an embankment to a nature reserve at the base of the aqueduct.
“A section of the nature reserve footpath has been closed until the water drains away.
“Most fish were rescued as this section of canal was being drained and removed to safety either side of temporary dams which have been installed at Halton Road Bridge (no 108) and 370 metres north of Dolphinlee Bridge (no 105).
“A further fish rescue is due to take place on Wednesday July 1.”
A leak was identified during the Trust’s weekly engineering inspection just over ten days ago and engineers have now identified three holes in the 218 year old clay lined bed.
To maintain water levels on the north of the aqueduct, water will be pumped around the drained section.
The Trust’s customer service staff are contacting boaters and local businesses who may be affected by the canal closure.
The Trust said it was hoping to be able to keep the towpath open throughout the repair work and reopen the canal to boats by the end of July.