The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas, et Prevalebit. WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 18, 1882. The County Water Supply.
[lssued at 430 p.m. j
As the plains water supply rapidly nears completion, signs are not wanting that the County Council will be called upon to grapple with several difficulties in connection therewith. Perhaps the foremost of those difficulties is the pollution of the water in the races. Properly looked after, the network of water-races now in course of construction by the local governing body will be productive of nothing but good to the dwellers on the plains, but if the various races are to become receptacles for decaying animal and vegetable matter, then they will be but of very negative benefit after all ; in fact, to the small farmers with families living along their course they will be a constant source of alarm and trouble. The County Engineer appears to be fully alive to the importance of preserving the purity of the water, and in his last report to the Council sounds a note of warning in regard to this matter. He says : “ The question of pollution is one which requires to be carefully guarded against, as there has been more than one case recently of a dead animal having been found in the races,” No one requires to be told of the danger likely to ensue, not only to adults and children, but to cattle, from the drinking of water in which the remains of a dead animal or animals have been allowed to decompose. So recently as within the past ten days we have had a terrible example of. the fatal effects of drinking water so • contaminated. From this cause, we believe, one family in the County has to mourn the loss of four of its members. Given a band of thirsty juveniles and a stream of running water within easy distance, and it is not difficult to foretel the exact locality of the youngters—little recking that by imbibing the apparently pure element, they may be planting the seeds of disease or even death in their youthful systems. If, from no other motive but that of self-interest, owners of property along which the races run must know that it is of the utmost importance that the water from which their cows drink is as nearly as possible pure, or we may never hope for the success of the Butter and Cheese Factory about to be started in the County. Let cows habitually use water tainted with decaying matter — either animal or vegetable—and it must be patent that their milk will not be fit for the purposes of the factory, or indeed any other purpose but to throw away. Seeing this inevitable result, every one of these owners will at once admit the importance of the question, but so careless are most people of many matters of vital importance, such as this, that it is only by exercising the most careful supervision with regard to the purity of the water that the supply will ever be the good thing for the farmers which its promoters predicted. Means to this end are not wanted, for the Ashburton County Council Waterworks Act, 1879, Amendment Act, 1881, bestows ample powers on the Council to mulct in heavy penalties (and most properly) anyone guilty of polluting the water supply of the County. Another matter which likewise needs attention in this connection is the diversion and stoppage of the water. This was also referred to by the Engineer in his last monthly report to the Council, several instances being mentioned where damage had resulted to the races, and the flow of water had been stopped. Under the Act the Council have full power to sue for heavy penalties where such selfish and short-sighted conduct can be proved. A charge of polluting the water will doubtless be a difficult one to sheet home to the offender, but charges of damage to the works and diversion of the water will be of more easy proof, and we hope, if these malpractices are continued, we shall speedily hear of someone being made an example of.