Every day we turn on the tap and flush the toilet, but do we wonder where the water comes from, or indeed goes to?
Following a lengthy series of enquiries to Scottish Water seeking to establish where Kirrie’s water comes from, I am still at a bit of a loss.
I received the following response from the Customer Helpline of Scottish Water: “We have checked with various departments and can advise the Clash Reservoir still belongs to Scottish Water. This is currently undergoing the processes for removal as a Scottish Water asset.
“Kirriemuir’s water supply is served by Lintrathen Water Treatment Works. This is supplied by water from the reservoirs at Lintrathen and Blackwater. We have checked with numerous departments within Scottish Water and have no further information regarding Kirriemuir’s original water supply and when this was changed over.”
I checked and found the original sewage settling beds were constructed in the town in 1890 (down behind the skemmels). The method for treatment was by screening and settling by irrigation over pastureland, with the effluent discharging into the Gairie Burn.
This led to reports of pollution in 1909 when the Kirriemuir Free Press reported sewage was entering the Gairie Burn at Denmill, near the old mill and this resulted in negotiations with General Kinloch of Logie to comply with the Public Health Act. An outfall from these to beds at Logie was laid in 1911 to provide treatment at Logie.
Even as late as 1950, the situation in the Northmuir was very different and had been the source of controversy for many years as the drainage system consisted of a series of cesspools with no satisfactory outfall and remained to be connected to the town’s sewerage system.
As far as the water supply to the town of Kirriemuir goes, a Water Works tender for contract was announced on June 11, 1909. This contract was to construct a reservoir to hold some 600,000 gallons.
This reservoir can still be seen on the Hill although it is now covered over.
When the building of the present reservoir first came before the council in 1909 it was proposed to acquire ground on the Hill and east corner of the Hill. A meeting took place on January 29, 1909, when the clerk submitted a letter from Sir Leonard Lyell’s agent stating the council could have as much ground as they required for the purpose at the south east.
At a later council meeting in March a letter was read from Sir Leonard Lyell stating the council could have the necessary ground for the construction of the reservoir at a rental of £2 per acre with certain conditions attached to it. The reservoir was built by May 1910 when Provost Ogilvy turned on the water. Before 1909 some 9,000 gallons of water per hour came into the burgh but there was a great wastage at night. The reservoir was built to conserve water and as a result the supply was increased to 27,000 gallons per hour, sufficient to reach the highest parts of the town, which before had experienced frequent shortages.
It was reported in the Kirriemuir Free Press & Angus Advertiser of September 3, 1931 that Councillor William Doig said: “Kirrie’s water system was almost perfect in 1909 and the population has declined by 1,000 consumers.” With £723 still outstanding from the loan of £2,000 contracted in 1909 for the building of a storage reservoir, now a sum of £14,000 had to be raised for the building of a new reservoir at the Clash. These are the facts causing the ratepayers of Kirrie to think. Then the storage reservoir had capacity sufficient for three days’ emergency supply.
It was announced on December 21, 1951 that Kirriemuir’s ‘new reservoir’ at the Clash, Pearsie, was opened by a gentleman with a grand title - Vice Admiral Sir William Spencer Leveson-Gower, the 4th Earl Granville, DSO, CB, KJSt.J, KCVO, KG, GCVO., LL.D. (son-in-law of Claude George Bowes-Lyon 14th Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne and the Countess of Strathmore)
And so it seems we are still undergoing change, as the reservoir at the Clash that is being “removed as a Scottish Water asset” and the ongoing outfall works down by Dean Water from the Logie sewage treatment works to comply with the new regulations are still continuing.