THE PLAINS WATER SUPPLY.
The Opening Ceremony. [Per Pigeon Post]. [From our Special Reporter. ] [We must apologise to our readers for an omission which will be apparent from the following report. Unfortunately onie of our messengers appeared without its despatch. Our to-night’s extra ” will contain the report in full.] We left Ashburton by special train at 8.20, and after a three hours’ ride, including stoppages, reached Methven. One could not help noting by the way the immense amount of land under crop on the Methven line; between the stations of Sherwood and Urral, the train passes throngh one enormous cornfield, and many were the expressions of regret at the havoc the heavy nor’-wester which had sprung up at the Rakaia, was creating among the ripe corn ; one gentleman, who has a large area under cultivation, remarked that it meant a loss of two bushels to the acre, on a large proportion of his crops. On arriving at Methven, we found our townsman, Mr. M'Rae, awaiting us with a number of conveyances, and after a ride of some eight miles through a very fertile country, we arrived at the dam at a quarter to one. This is situated in the gorge of the Pudding Hill stream, which is the most northerly branch of the Ashburton river. The scenery here is a relief from the monotonous expanse of tussock through which we had previously rbeen travelling, the mountain range to the west [pyesenting.a and romantic appearance. The dam has been thrown across the river at a point where ithe channel is only 300 feet ipider and the rocky banks on both sidCJf^afr ford a first-class foundation from whicfy
to start the work. It was commenced by the contractor. Mr. -James Wilkie, on May roth, and, after a stoppage for a short time on account of the frost, the work went on until ifs; completion on November nth last. The dam and weir consist of a concrete wall 6 feet 3 inches in width at the base, having a batter of i inch to the foot on the lower side and 2 inches to the foot on the upper side. This wall is sunk below the bed of the river an average depth of 5 feet, and is carried up at the ends to a height of 13 feet, whilst the centre of the wall, for a width of about 200 feet, is only 10 feet 9 inches high, over which the water flows when the sluices are shut down. At the north end the wall is carried up to the full width of 6 feet 3 inches for a distance of 47 feet, and in this portion is placed the discharge sluice, having an aperture of 3 feet by 2 feet, and a larger one at a lower level for the purpose of scouring away any shingle which might collect and block the discharge outlet. On the down stream side of the dam at this point the dam has further been protected from scour by three smaller walls let into the solid rock. The whole of the work is still further protected by boulders being piled up against it to a
depth of 30 feet on both sides, level with the top of the work, and sloping down at an angle of 3 to 1 to the level of the river. The whole arrangements are of so substantial a nature that the veriest tyro at engineering could at once give his ipse dixit that the Pudding Hill dam will never be moved from its resting-place by any flood that may run over it. There are just 700 cubic yards of concrete in the work, which all agreed in saying was most creditable to the engineer and contractor. The great fall in the river bed does not allow the water to be dammed back any great distance, but still a very respectablesized pond is created by the stoppage of the river, and the native forest on the steep hills on each side, and the music of the tuis and other native birds .make one fancy he is in another land, instead of being only thirty miles from flat dreary Ashburton. On arrival at the dam, the party was photographed by an artist from Rakaia, after which Mr. Walker opened the water supply, remarking that he would defer making a speech till after lunch, merely saying that the County Council considered this a most important work, and one which would confer a great benefit on the district through which the water intended to flow. He thentook off the screw, and declared the waterworks open in the name of the : County Council. As the water flowed down the channel three cheers were given. There was a splendid stream of water running down the race, and after strolling about for half an hour or so, and admiring the beautiful and picturesque scenery, an adjournment was made to a tent close by, where was a bountiful repast provided J by Mr. R. Patton, of Methven, to which ample justice was done^ After the usual loyal and patriotic toasts, 1
Mr. Walker asked those present to fill their glasses to the toast of the day —“Success to the Waterworks.” lie felt confident in asking them to drink this toast. He was asking them to drink to a great work; it might not be great as compared to works executed by kingdoms before, but in proportion, to our means it was a great work, and one which he felt sure would never fall to ruin, but would last through many generations It was interesting to note the cost of the works which was as follows :—Dam and weir,. Li,490 ; concrete channel, Li,Boo ; earthwork, to Dundas, 32 miles, L 650. It 'was therefore easy to see that the work was within our means. (Hear, hear.) He felt he was fortunate in being Chairman of the County Council, and he trusted this would not be the only work of irnportance the Conncil would undertake, and he hoped other parts of the plains would soon participate in such a benefit as they had to-day seen inaugurated for this portion. Mr. Purnell proposed the health of the “ County Council,” coupled with the name of Mr. Walker. He had no doubt that the work would be of great benefit, and that ere long we should see towns and cities springing up on the plains. He did not know of a County Council in New Zealand equal to the Ashburton Council. They did not waste time in discussion, but worked in a business way. Mr. Baxter offered his cordial thanks to those who had drank his health so heartily. It had always been a pleasure to him to work under the County Council. It was only three months since the work was projected, and today they had the result before them, and he thought that the cost would be recouped in one year, by the benefit conferred on the farmers.
The Mayor in thanking them for the way in which his health had been drunk would return the compliment by proposing “the health of Mr. Wright, the member for the district.” Mr. Friedlander then spoke. iu eulogistic terms of the way in which Mr. Wright had worked in the House for the district he represented. Mr. Wright, who was averse to taking up their time, as it was necessary soon to make a start homewards, briefly returned thanks. Mr. Jacobson proposed “The health of the ladies,” coupled with the name of Mr. Cameron, which -Mr. Cameron replied to in suitable terms. After “ The Host” and “ The Press” had been duly honored, the party returned homewards shortly after three o’clock.
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THE PLAINS WATER SUPPLY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 256, 31 January 1881
THE PLAINS WATER SUPPLY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 256, 31 January 1881
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