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 first primary water supply in the 1860s, is explained in this blog. Sadly after a few decades the water became saline and no longer potable. Perhaps this venture was emblematic of the era where vision was limited by parsimony and where, despite the Council’s laudable motives, was doomed to failure. 

For all that, the Town Council did protect the interests of its residents by not financing the project itself. So, 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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