WATER level problems in the canal at East Wichel still haven’t been resolved a year after the council started to tackle the problem.

Last June the borough council teamed up with the Wilts and Berks Canal Trust to try find out why the water had dropped in previous years.

Contractors have been stopping up stretches of the canal to see if they can pinpoint where a leak could be.

But the length of time it takes to isolate one section has meant the work still isn’t finished.

Gary Sumner, the cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, said: “It was assumed that there may be a leak in that section of canal.

“What the contractors have done is cut off sections of the canal and put a bund across it, a mound of soil to break it up, and see if the water in that section drops differently to another section.

“It’s just taken a while because each section has to be monitored for a period of time.

He explained: “If you cut a section and then get some heavy rain that can give you incorrect results. It needs to be left so that you can actually see if the water level has dropped or been maintained.”

But the drop in water levels might not actually be caused by a leak and could be linked to the East Wichel development.

Coun Sumner said: “So far each section we’ve cut shows there isn’t a leak so it could be that it isn’t getting enough water.

“Other sections of the canal may be stream-fed so they’ll have another water supply. It could be that when East Wichel was built there wasn’t provision in the water infrastructure there that enough rain water would be drained into the canal.

“We’ve still got the contractors looking at that and we’re working with the trust trying to identify if there is a leak and if there isn’t a leak how we can get some additional water.”

Secretary of the Swindon branch of the canal trust John Farrow believes the delays have also been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “We did some testing last year and as we went to do the second test we had a wet winter last year and a dry spring which affected the water level.

“And then coronavirus came along and threw the plans out the window.

“We’re just starting to restart the leak-testing process now.”

It is not known how long it could take to find the root of the problem as it is likely to depend on the weather.