THE BOROUGH WATER SUPPLY.
It is now about two months since the Ashburton Borough Council accepted Mr. James Wilkie’s tender for the works necessary for carrying out the scheme adopted by them for supplying the township with a water supply sufficient for the purposes of fire prevention, and for sluicing the side channels of the streets. The work is now completed, and the water was turned on yesterday shortly before noon by Mr. C. E. Fooks, the Borough Engineer, and it reached the upper part of the domain shortly before 4 o’clock, thus shewing that the dreaded soakage and leakage about which we have heard so much is not a very serious matter. As the space which will form the reservoir is of considerable extent, covering some acres, and in some places fully seven feet deep, it will take time before the gully is filled up to the overflow pipe, but that is a mere question of a week or more. The water is now in the Domain and that is a satisfaction to all ratepayers, as it cannot do otherwise than contribute totheirhealth, wealth, and comfort —their health, because such filthy receptacles of disease as the Burnett street side channels will be a thing of the past"; their wealth, beciuse the risk of fire will be decreased, and insurance premiums in proportion; and their comfort, since the presence of a large sheet of water in the Domain must be a welcome change from the monotonous appearance of tussocks on all sides, io say nothing of the cooling effect it will have on the atmosphere in a hot nor’-west gale. The works themselves are of the simplest nature, and when one has inspected them, he only wonders why such a simple scheme was not carried out years ago. The natural fall of the country, and the fact that some twelve months ago a portion of the North Ashburton came down from the same starting point to the same outlet, following a natural instead of an artificial course, should have been sufficient to have shown that the supply of water to the township was no difficult undertaking. The matter, however, was the subject of much cogitation and engineering among our local authorities as well as imported talent, and a large expenditure was incurred for imported pipes for a highy pressure scheme. But when the Council themselves visited the proposed works, under the guidance of the promoter of the present idea, Mr. Edward Saunders, (now, we regret to say, no longer a Councillor) they at once saw the folly of committing the Borough to the expenditure of money for a fancy scheme, which would have cost the ratepayers an exti’a shilling rate, and they at once adopted the idea, and the work was let. Briefly stated, the works consist of an intake near Mr. Donald Williamson’s residence, about miles from town. At this point a portion of Messrs. Saunders mill race is diverted into a new channel, and concrete walls are built, enclosing a slide which, by means of a regulating screw, admits as much or as little water as may be required. Thence the water flows in a channel along Mr. Williamson’s dividing fences till it reaches Winter’s road, the side of which it keeps for some 76 chains till it readies the north-west Town Belt, the gully being crossed by a substantial flume. At the belt a sump is built in to intercept the debris, and the water then crosses the belt in a diagonal direction, through a 9-inch pipe to the Domain. About 10 chains of a race brings it into the gully opposite the Hospital, and it is then conveyed in this natural course to the embankment in West street, near the railway goods shed, where a most substantial dam has been erected, some 20 feet in width, and faced with large stones as a protection against the wash likely to be caused by N.W. gales. Another concrete structure is erected here from which a nine-inch iron pipe is led to the Post office, where it will be distributed to all parts of the Borough Eastward of the railway line, the overflow being conveyed down West street to the river through a six-inch pipe from the reservoir. Provision has been made to take away all surplus water by the excavation of a capacious outfall drain at the East Belt, which not only carries all the water from the side channels, but will also relieve the residents of the east town belt of the'r
troubles in wet weather, they in that region having to assume for the time being an amphibious nature. The outfall will take all the flood-water of the township and carry it direct to the river. At present this big ditch has a rather unsightly appearance in so thickly populated a part of the town, but it is only a temporary measure, and will, as soonas funds permit, bo converted into a brick or concrete sewer. The concrete channelling, under the able management of Mr. James Bradley, is also making rapid progress, although the late hard frosts are rather against the work. We expect in a very short time to chronicle the fact that Ashburton is one of the cleanest and healthiest towns in the colony.
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