Topic: Water was hard to get

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Until the water races were built in the 1880's, the main problem for the settlers was obtaining sufficient water for their stock and domestic uses.

Until the water races were built in the 1880's, the main problem for the settlers was obtaining sufficient water for their stock and domestic uses.

As the homesteads and cottages moved further back from the river and streams the water had to be carted by horse and dray. Some of the bigger farmers kept a man and a three-horse team fully occupied going to and from the Waimakariri carting water for the farm. As many as 20 drays could ae seen at a time on Monday morning at Ridgens creek each with a 400-gallon tank being pumped full by hand.

The Courtenay Road Board, which later became part of the Malvern County Council, had as some of its first works the making and maintaining of tracks into the river bed to provide easy access to water.

Springs were few and near the hills and on the plains the great depth of hard shingle and clay made wells difficult and uneconomic to make. In the early 1860's at least two wells were sunk to a depth of more than 200 feet but the cost was prohibitive for an ordinary settler.

Source: The Press, 09 March 1961

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