Waimakariri irrigation report from 1894 found

Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd chief executive Brent Walton (left) presents an 1894 report...
Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd chief executive Brent Walton (left) presents an 1894 report investigating alternative options for getting water to the Waimakariri Plains to Mayor David Ayers. Photo: Supplied
A recent find reveals that water challenges are not new in the Waimakariri district.

A report written in 1894 for the Minister of Mines investigating alternative options for supplying stock water to the Waimakariri Plains was recently uncovered by Waimakariri Irrigation Ltd (WIL) chief executive Brent Walton.

Mr Walton presented the original framed document to Waimakariri Mayor David Ayers last month to mark the 125th anniversary of the report.

He discovered the document while searching for another report in the WIL archives.

''I was actually looking for something else and just stumbled across it when I found it tucked away in a folder,'' he said.

''It was such a coincidence that it was just a couple of weeks away from the 125th anniversary of the report when we found it.

''The nine-page report makes for great reading and given its relevance to local history and the irrigation scheme it seemed appropriate to present the document to the council, as it's of interest to the wider local community.''

The document was prepared by the Waimakariri-Ashley Water Supply Board and explored how to supply 50 million gallons a day of stock water to 150,000 acres (61,000ha ) on the Waimakariri plains.

Several options were considered including extracting water from the Waimakariri River at the gorge or near Browns Rock, from the Ashley River and Coopers Creek.

Browns Rock was chosen and it supplied water to beyond Rangiora, while Coopers Creek supplied the Oxford area.

Copies of the original report will also be given to the Cust Museum for its collection.

Mr Ayers said he was impressed by the size of the document, at just nine pages, for such a complex issue, joking that a similar document today would ''fill a room''.

-By David Hill

Add a Comment