Port Elizabeth of Yore: The First Dam

The saga of how Port Elizabeth acquired an unsuitable dam on a trickle of a river as its primary water supply in the 1860s, is explained in this blog. Coupled to these considerations was the fact that the water was not potable, should have raised warning flags. Perhaps it is emblematic of the era where visions were limited by parsimony and despite the Council’s laudable motives, its chosen solution never stood the test of time. 

For all that, the Town Council did protect the interests of its residents by not financing the project itself and when bankruptcy did occur, no losses were borne by the denizens of the town. 

Main picture: Opening the value at the Frames Dam in 1863

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: Water, water, everywhere but……..

In the annuals of history, one of the key criteria for the establishment of a town was a ready water supply. What this meant in reality was that towns were located on a perennial river with a persistent strong flow. Not so Port Elizabeth. This problem was to bedevil its development over the years. 

Where did Port Elizabeth obtain its water supply from, especially in the early years? 

Main picture: On this puny stream, grandiloquently called Shark River, that supplied Port Elizabeth with its first piped water

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