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MERTHYR POLICE COURT.

Merthyr and Cardiff Water…

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Merthyr and Cardiff Water Bill. ¡ PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE HOUSE OF COMMONS COMMITTEE. ALD. D. W. JONES GIVES EVIDENCE. The Cardiff Corporation's Water Bill came before the House or Commons' Committee last week-end. Mr. Hill Kelly appeared for the Merthyr Corporation, who desired to hav<- clauses inserted in the Bill making it compul- sory on the part of Cardiff to supply water to Merthyr in case of necessity. On Friday, Aid. D. W. Jones was celled as a witness. He ex- plained that he was Mayer of Merthyr last, year, and then went on to say that in 1884 when Cardiff got power for water supply the population of Merthyr was only about 50,000, but during the last few years it had increased at the rate of about ono thousand a year. Pre- vious to 1884 the population had been station- ary for about 30 years. In 1884 the Local Board of Health of Merthyr opposed the Cardiff Dill, but that opposition was withdrawn because it was stated there would be sufficient comper.- sation water for the riparian and mill owners. Merthyr was the nearest town to the source of this water supply. He explained the water- works owned by Merthyr, and said that the districts which Merthyr was supplying were all districts which had a natural geological claim upon the water which Merthyr had im- pounded. In a few years, apart from the obli- gation to supply other places, Merthyr's own requirements would exceed her present supply. The Chairman: That is admitted. They prepared a scheme, but the ratepayers ob jected to it. Witness went on to speak of the negotia- tions which Merthyr entered into with Cardiff, and referred to the Pontsticill scheme. Cardiff, he said, did not see its way to form a joint partnership chiefly owing to the difficulty in constructing a very large main to* carry the water down to Cardiff. Merthyr already sup- ply Cefn, but had to refuse to supply Blaina. If Merthyr was enabled to take a supply from Cardiff Merthyr would be able to supply Blaina, which was within the area of the pro- posed reservoir. Mr. Pollock (who appeared for Cardiff Cor- poration) There is no petition from Blaina, and the Brecon County Council is supporting the Bill. The Chairman: This evidence ia to the ef- fect that Merthyr not only want a supply for herself, but requires it to supply a district which at present she has no power to supply Mr. Kelly: Merthyr has the power. The Chairman: But never exercised it. Witness: Only to a limited extent. He went on to say that what Merthyr wanted was a clause in the Bill to provide for a supply for Merthyr after ample provision had been made for Cardiff. Merthyr were prepared to pay the cost of taking the water and maintaining the metres. Cross-examined by Mr. Pollock, witness said that Merthyr had spent £30,000 to £40,000 in trying- to repair a leakage in their reservoir, but had failed to stop it. That was one of the reasons they promoted the Bill of 1907, for the Council felt. that the only remedy was to build a new reservoir. But for this leakage they would have water available either for sale or for their own use, but they could not store it. Counsel: Not all of it, but you could store a certain quantity. Aid. Jones was questioned as to 'Merthyr wishing to supply Gellygaer, Caerphilly, Rhym- ney, and Aber, which are outside districts. He said that they were at Merthyr under an obligation to supply these outside places. Mr. Pollock: You have no Parliamentary right. It is only a voluntary agreement on your part. You want our water to make friendly agreement with people. The Chairman (to witness): What would be the position of your town supposing you de- feated this Bill? Witness replied that if Merthyr did not get this supply from Cardiff they would have to build a reservoir themselves, which would be too big a burden for the borough, or they would have to cut off the supply to all the other districts, and then they would have to make some further provision in their own dis- trict. The leakage of Merthyr reservoir was getting worse every year. It had been going on for 20 years. They had spent money from time to time upon it, and had succeeded in re- ducing the leakage from time to time, but the matter was certainly in a serious stare just now. The Chairman: And it is getting worse. Witness said that if they stopped the leak- age it would make very little difference, be- cause the capacity of the reservoir was limited and Merthyr was a.ble to take the whole of the supply. On the Committee being about. to adjourn for luncheon, the Chairman remarked that if after the construction of this reservoir Cardiff had for sorne years a large quantity of water which it did not require for its own purposes, a clause might perhaps be inserted in the Bill giving- the Cardiff Corporation power—if they had that extra. quantity of water—to enter vol- untary into an agreement t<y'supplv Merthyr. Mr. Pollock: I think yre have that power already, and we are willing to insert such a clause—a permissive clause. Mr. Kelly said that his clients would be will- ing to agree to a clause giving them a supply. and providing for the approval of the iLocai Government Board in the matter. Mr. Pollock said that what his friend wanted was a right to demand due water, although the reservoir could not be completed for six years. The Chairman: Perhaps net for ten. Mr. Pollock: And by that time Merthyr will have to go themselves for some further water supply. Mr. Kelly: We only want some from your surplus. The Chairman: I do not think Merthyr is in a position to wait for ten years. It is high time they took steps to provide for themselves. Mr. Kelly: This scheme to take water from Cardiff would obviate the necessity of Merthyr coming to Parliament for many years""to come. The Chairman I cannot say any more. Take your own course.

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