It could cost as much as £100,000 to fix a leaking section of the Rochdale Canal in Mytholmroyd.
Engineers from The Canal and River Trust are currently on site trying to determine what caused a culvert underneath the canal to fail and the extent of the damage.
And they have admitted that it could be February 2014 before the stretch of water between locks six and seven is open to boat users.
Alex Holt, senior engineer on the project, said: “A few weeks ago we found that the culvert was leaking quite significantly. We think it was caused by high levels of water in the culvert after heavy rain.
“Since then we have had measures in place which have allowed us to stop the canal deteriorating in any way.
“We have taken down the parapet wall at the side of the bridge. We’re building a ramp so we can get equipment down to the side of the canal.
“At that point we will clear the mud and silt from the bottom of the canal so we can get down and examine the culvert. It will be either Friday of Monday before I’ll be able to do that.
“At that point we’ll be able to determine what the problem is and how we will be able to fix it. We are hoping that we can find a quick solution so that we can have the canal full of water again before Christmas. The best case scenario is that it was just a couple of stones that have been moved by the water pressure. In that case we will have water back in the canal by Christmas.
“The worst case scenario is that the culvert has collapsed in the canal and we have to replace it. In that case we wouldn’t start that before Christmas because it would mean potentially stopping and starting depending on the weather. We’d do some works before Christmas but then the major work would have to wait until the new year. It could be anything up to February before we will complete that work.”
Mr Holt apologised for any inconvenience caused and said that they would use this opportunity to repair other problems on the canal.