THE RAKAIA WATER SCHEME.
At the. la_t meeting of the Oounty Council the engineer's remarks in his report upon tho cause of the defeat of the proposal to borrow £5000, for the purpoae ot taking an additional water supply from the Rakaia river, in order that the residents iu one of the driest parts of the county might have the benefit of a supply such as is enjoyed in other districts, led to some explanation of the reasons for the absence of sufficient support at the poll to carry the proposal. It was surprising to find that Mr John Grigg of all men should misunderstand the scope of the proposal, but the technical wording according to the Act of the proposal submitted to the voters misled him as it appears to have many others, among them another mem-; berof the Council, Mr W. McMillan. The word • ■ irrigation " proved to be the stumbling block, and the chances of its being misunderstood were increased by the mention, in the County Council's circular explaining the proposal, that the Rakaia supply would be sufficient to' allow of dwellers along the line of races supplied from this source irrigating their gardens and orchards, The conclusion was accordingly jumped to that the district immediately affected would have the benefits of irrigation in its fullest sense, while the cost would be equally borne by the whole distriot between the Ashburton and Rakaia rivers. Consequently Mr Grigg, Mr McMillan and others withheld their support from the proposals, and the favorable votes fell short of the requisite number, As we understand the proposal the effect of the increased supply will be simply to give eyery settler who is willing to pay the water rate the same benefits as are now enjoyed by some only — the present water supply, derived from the Ashburton river, being quite inadequate to supply the whole of the district. Mr Wright and Mr Coster explained the matter very clearly to the Council, -and there should be no room for further misapprehension. It is unfortunate that it was not until the day of the polling that the mistaken reading of the notice was impressed upon Mr Grigg ; otherwise explanations could have been asked and doubts removed. Mr, McJ-tilian's view that those who are already supplied with water eiho^ld not he rated for the fresh supply is also based upon a misapprehension. Under the Aot the rating extends over the whole district, but this is only technically the case, the faot being that the additional revenue which will be derived from the districts, to be served by the extended, system of races will be sufficient tp meet the cost of constructing and maintaining those races, eo that those who are already in the enjoyment of water are simply oalled upon to act with justice— without generosity, further than going to. the poll may be considered such-^in assisting to obtain a similas* benefit for their neighbors, Those who are still not c^ear Won any point connected with the proposals should enquire of the Engineer or Secretary, or wait upon the Council at next meeting, and the information required" wil no doubt be cheerfully given. Boubtless the ratepayers will he asked again before long to sanction the loan. The good done by the races has been so pronounced that settlers will not willingly go without tom. T, he dry sprang bo far has left wells low and spring*- dry, and a dry summer v/ill mean atuoled crops and for wany a farmer a volapse into the diffi- j culties from which ho' is beginning to extricate himself. Meantime the waters ] of the tUkftfo flow idly fc the sea, -
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