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THE RESERVOIR., Issue 7934, 15 June 1889
TO THE EDITOK.
Sir,—Warning after warning has been given of the dangerous state of our reservoir, but nothing has been done, or attempted to be done, to rectify the danger complained of. The public have been deceived by statements that have been made. Firstly, that the same state of things that exist now always existed. Secondly, that there is no danger. The first is false. As to the second, anyone possessed of the smallest amount of common sense must see that great danger does exist, with an increasing leak, as I will show directly. The Johnstown people disregarded the warnings given them, and they have suffered from one of the most awful visitations that have ever been recorded.
In 1876 I drew attention to a trickle of water that was issuing from the foot of the embankment of tho reservoir, which would not amount to a couple of gallons in twentyfour hours. I pointed out that it should not bo allowed to exist; but it was disregarded. In 1882 I found the trickle had increased to 5,000ga) in twenty-four hours. In 18SG it hud increased to ll.OOOgal in tweuty-four hours, and the City Surveyor stated in his report that it had been 14,400ga1. Here is an increase from a mere trickle to 14,400ga1, or the equivalent of thirtysix 400 gal tanks. And this is called nothing, and we arc told there is no danger. The City Council employed Professor Black, who proved conclusively that there was a leak, and that it came from the reservoir. They also employed Mr R. Hay, who stated that a break existed but different from Professor Black's. Whon the reservoir was emptied for Professor Black to apply hia testa, I found the water still flowing from tho embankment; but at the end of a week it ceased altogether, except an occasional drip. Tho reason the (low did not stop directly tho reservoir wbs emptied was that the embankment, from its groat width, took a week to drain. After water was put into the reservoir the leak bogan to run again. If this is not the clearest proof that the leak proceeds from the reservoir, and that therefore the reservoir is the source of tho leak, I should like to know what further proof is wanted. In the Mother Country all reservoirs are inspected by Government officers appointed for the purpose, and why should not the same supervision take place here? We have inspectors of machinery, and inspectors of mines, whose duty it is to see that nothing is allowed to exist, or be done, that will endanger life. The City Council have just gone to considerable expense and trouble to ascertain what a portion of those residing amongst us think of building on the Triangle, or making a reserve of it. Again we are having meetings about beautifying the City surroundings; and, lastly, an agitation against the cursed sweating system. But, sir, what, are any of these subjects compared to the danger that threatens the lives and property of a large number of our fellow citizens. I am astonished at the apathy shown by those who Hve on high land, and arc not likely to be affeoted should au accident occur; but I am still more astonished at those who live between tho reservoir and the bay that they do not realise the fact that if the reservoir was to burst they would, in all probability, be carried away. Nearly all the accidents that have occurred from the bursting of reservoirs have been when the rivers have been in flood, as was the case at Johnstown. And if my fellow-townsmen ■will remember the way in which that portion of the town—the old Botanical Gardens—that is bounded by Union, Albany, and Castle streets was swept away by a mere flood in the Leith, they will better realise what would have been the effect if a body of water such as is contained in the reservoir had been added. Every building from tho reservoir to the bay would have been swept away, and the loss of life frightful. Surely the citizens are asleep, or they would never allow such a state of things to exist.—l am, etc., G. P. Clifford. Dunedin, June 15.
THE RESERVOIR., Issue 7934, 15 June 1889
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