Port Elizabeth of Yore: The First Sources of Water

As David Raymer points out in his excellent book on the water supply to Port Elizabeth entitled ‘Streams of Life’, “until 1880 the greatest problem [that] the settlement of Port Elizabeth faced was the question of a dependable and adequate supply of fresh water for the residents”.

This blog covers the first attempt to address this challenge.

Main picture: One of the original wells in Port Elizabeth

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Port Elizabeth of Yore: The Floods of November 1867

Port Elizabeth periodically experiences floods. Amongst the most devastating was the flood from Tuesday 19th November to Thursday 21st November 1867.  During 11 hours on the Wednesday and Thursday, 161.5 millimetres of rain fell bringing the total for the three days to 225.5 millimetres. While only two lives were lost, damage to roads and houses was estimated to be as much as £30,000. 

Perhaps its effect was exacerbated by the fact that the roads were not tarred and the flood waters gushed down the natural water courses, formally kloofs or streams, causing mayhem. But the most catastrophic effect was the silting up of the harbour. As a consequence, the recently completed breakwater had to be demolished.

Main picture: Rudolph Street, South End after the floods of November 1867

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