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TO THE EDITOR. Sib,— The complaints of Messrs Grigg and Wright at the last meeting of the County Council, that their swamp land was being unduly Boaked by water leaking from the water raoes, open a question, wbioh, in the interests of the whole county, should be answered forthwith. The timid may be frightened by the hint of legal proceedings being taken to recover the amount of damage sustained through the wet state of the land in question, but courage may be taken from the attitude of the Chairman (Mr Walker, M.H.E.) and Mr Harper in the matter. I think it can be shewn that there is no necessity for the course suggested by Mr Harper in the notice of motion that appears in last night's "Guardian"— that the raoea should terminate at the railway line— unless this be a challenge to the land-holders below the line to deoide between the undoubted benefits whioh they derive from the races, and the injury whioh they Buppoae to be due to the same source. The problem as to whether or not the races oause the sodden state of the swamp lands is one easy of solution. It is an admitted faot that the water in wells, pits, etc , has, over the whole of the Canterbury Plains, been much higher sinoe the winter of 1886 than it was for many years previously, and this in localities far removed from the influence of any water raoe. In July, August and September, 1886, springs broke out and ran for months where they had never previously, been known to exist. This outbreaking of Bprings also followed the heavy rains of the winters of 1887 and 1888, and was pot confined to any locality, nor to low-lying land, more than country whioh is generally regarded as particularly high and dry. Artesian wells whioh had been dry for years flowed again, and have in moßt instances continued to do so to the present day. Now, so great and general a rise in the level of the under-ground water is quite beyond the power of the water raoes to effeot. This can be easily demonstrated. The county engineer can state the quantity of water whioh is supplied into the raoes ; the loss of volume by evaporation is not difficult to calculate ; and the quantity discharged into the ooean is also measurable. Question— ls the volume of water represented by. the difference between the quantity of water taken into the raoes, less evaporation, and the quantity discharged, capable of causing this great increase in the volume of the subterranean water ? I say no. But it is a question of too ruuoh importance to be deoided by lay opinion. Engineers and geologists oan go further, and oan state what quantity of water applied to the enrfaoe would be required to oause the rise that has taken plaoo underground, and when this is ascertained it will almost certainly be found that even if not a drop of water from the races had reached the sea, but the whole intake discharged upon the land, the effeot would not have been to soak the swamps as has been complained. The County Oounoil should take immediate steps to aeoertain definitely the effeot, if %py, of the water-raoes upon the underground ourrents, and so satisfy landowners that in promoting a scheme of irrigation they are not making a rod for their backs in leading up to unlimited aotions for damage to low-lying or other lands. Yours &c, Aquarius;

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2055, 5 February 1889

Word Count

IRRIGATION. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2055, 5 February 1889