The Backup Pump Watering Project

Can you imagine seeing the Delaware Canal from Durham down to Center Bridge fully and reliably watered?  At long last, the flood damage repairs to the Canal are finished, and everyone is enjoying seeing water in the entire Canal.  But what happens the next time a Canal wall breaks or construction interferes with the flow of water? 

A serious problem in recent years is that large segments of the Canal have been left without water for extended periods of time when the natural water flow from the north (diverted through an inlet from the Lehigh River) is interrupted by flood, structural failures, or road construction.  These events require that water be drained from large sections of the Canal to accommodate repairs to even very small damaged segments.  An empty Canal is prone to much more rapid deterioration when drained than when watered. When empty, the Canal's sensitive bed and banks are easily penetrated by growing tree saplings and burrowing animals, resulting in leaks that destabilize its base and walls, which are the very foundation of the adjacent recreational path.  Leaving the Canal empty is not only an eyesore -- it  disrupts use of the towpath (which is part of the East Coast Greenway and the regional Circuit), accelerates deterioration, and increases future maintenance and restoration costs. 

We have developed a plan to pump water from the river into the Canal when needed so as to prevent or minimize long periods of an empty and deteriorating Canal.

(Click on image to enlarge the map of the watering plan)

Under the plan:

  • The DCNR state park system renovated the existing pump at Durham and has purchased a new pump that could be installed in Tinicum, across from Marshall Island.  Delaware Canal 21 has committed to fundraise from private sources for a portion of the cost of installing the new Marshall Island pump.  It also is working with partners to develop a plan to raise funds to pay for the cost of electricity for both of these pumps.
  • Delaware Canal 21 is working with Forest Park Water to develop a pilot program to use the Pt. Pleasant Pumping Station to deliver water to the stretch of the Canal between Pt. Pleasant and Center Bridge. 
  • We are providing DCNR with technical assistance (pro bono) to help the agency comply with the terms of the regulatory approval required to operate the pumps.   
  • Delaware Canal 21 is researching the feasibility of installing an additional pump in Falls Township to supplement water in the southern stretch of the Canal.

Please help us with your Pledge!

Please consider carefully what it would mean to you to enjoy a more reliably water-filled Canal and then make us your pledge accordingly.  Delaware Canal 21 attests that all pledges raised by this appeal will be spent entirely to water the Canal through Durham, Tinicum, Plumstead and Solebury.

The official registration and financial information of Delaware Canal 21 may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll free, within Pennsylvania, 1 (800) 732-0999.  Registration does not imply endorsement.

Banner image courtesy of Ian Kindle