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THE RHONDDA WATER SUPPLY.…

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THE RHONDDA WATER SUPPLY. WHEN the Rhondda Valleys were severed from the Pontypridd Rural Sanitary Authority in 1877, the newly- formed Local Board of Health found itself confronted with the responsibility of securing for the inhabitants of the valleys a sufficient supply of pure and wholesome water, and at one of the first meetings of the Board the question of purchasing the Ystrad gas and water- works was discussed. Unfortunately for the present ratepayers, there was no practical outcome of the discussion, although it is ancient history that the whole undertaking was at one time I ofl'ered to and refused by the Board for somewhere about £ 100,000 less than the amount which the District Council paid for it only last year. The Local Board with its twelve members lived seventeen years, and, as far as the water supply was concerned, adopted a policy of masterly inactivity. It mattered not that the amount of avail- able water in the district was gradually growing less, disappearing into old 0 workings and elsewhere no one knew how, while the population to be pro- vided for was increasing at an enormous I rate, the Board of Health could not succeed in increasing either the quantity or the quality of this all necessary commodity. The Local Board died- unwept and un lamcnted-and was suc- ceeded in 1895 by the Urban District Council. This body, with some new blood incorporated into its constitution, evinced at first a commendable desire to grapple with the whole question of the water supply of the district, and have been so far successful that they last year completed the purchase at a price of the Ystrad waterworks, which supplies more than half of the two valleys. But it would almost appear as though the purchase of this undertaking had ab- sorbed the whole courage of the council, for during the last two years it has been discussing and discussing how best to provide the much needed supply, and even now it is not much nearer solving the problem. Surely it cannot have happened that the District Council as it has advanced in years has become as unpractical as its predecessor if so, it is quite time that still newer blood should be infused into it. This brings us to a discussion of the enlarged council, which will meet for the first time next month, and which will find that one of the very earliest questions it will be called upon to decide relates to the water supply. Two schemes have been laid before the present council.! One proposes to convert a large lake Llyn Fawr—in the Neath Valley into a reservoir, and to tap it by means of a tunnel cut through the Blaenrhondda j mountain, bringing the water to be filtered through new filter beds at the present Treherbert works. The cost of this undertaking is variously estimated at from £ 100,000 to £ 130.000. The second and alternative proposal is to sink a well or wells at Treherbert to below the coal measures, where, the Council have been advised by the eminent geologist, Professor Boyd Dawkins, they will be able to secure by pumping about a million gallons daily of water which will not require any filtering. The cost of this—the bore- hole scheme—has been estimated to cost by different persons from £ 30,000 to £ 50,000. We cannot be accused of ever having advocated a project merely because it was cheap—we believe thoroughly that the combination of cheap and nasty is often of no mere chance connection. At the same time when we have presented to us two engineering schemes capable of achieving the same purpose, but one of which is to be cairled out for less than one-half the other, we should be neglecting our duty if we failed to place the question before our readers. There will be at least sixteen new members on the next Rhondda District Council, and we trust that some of these will insist upon having- the whole subject tin ashed out and will compel the opponents ot each scheme to give definite and stated reasons for their opposition. Let [us have a full discussion of the matter and, if need be, a recorded vote, we shall then be able to see which of our representatives are prepared to carry out their election promises of c. economy with efficiency." But the new council is not yet elected, and there is time even between now and Monday for this question to be discussed between can- didate and electors. Unless this is done, and the members thoroughly understand the views of their con- stituents, we fear that mistakes will be committed such as even the present council have not been free from, and whicn the next generation may possibly have to suffer for.

PONTYPRIDD. -------+---

——-♦ TRALLWN WARD.

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