Water Supply Approvisionnement en eau potable


À défaut d’une source naturelle, un puits était creusé et diverses méthodes, généralement liées à la profondeur du puits, étaient utilisées pour amener l’eau à la surface. Elles allaient d’une longue perche munie d’un poids à une extrémité et d’un crochet pour suspendre un seau à l’autre extrémité à la méthode traditionnelle du cylindre et de la corde.

Les pompes artisanales, comme celle-ci, étaient également une option intéressante.

À l’origine, elles étaient installées à l’extérieur, mais la réalité des hivers québécois a vite fait de les ramener à l’intérieur et de les monter sur le comptoir de la cuisine. Ces pompes étaient utilisées dans les maisons de campagne jusqu’à l’arrivée de l’électricité dans le canton, entre la fin des années 1940 et les années 1960.

À l’origine, l’eau était tirée d’un puits creusé pour chaque résidence, tant dans les zones urbaines que rurales du canton.

Approvisionnement en eau
Une considération importante pour les premiers colons était une source d’eau fiable.

An important consideration of the first settlers was a reliable source of water. Failing the presence of a natural spring a well was dug and various methods, usually related to the depth of the well, of bringing the water to the surface were used. They ranged from a long pole weighted at one end and a hook to suspend a bucket at the other end to the traditional cylinder and rope method.

Hand made pumps such as this one were also an interesting option.

Originally they were installed out of doors but soon the reality of winters in Quebec saw them brought indoors and mounted on a counter in the kitchen. These pumps were used in country homes until electricity finally came to the Township between the late 1940’s and 1960’s.

Photo 1940

Originally water was drawn from a well dug for each residence, in both urban and rural areas of the Township.

In 1910 the village residents finally had water system installed.

 The original water pipes were made of wood and about  10” in diameter and 8 feet in length . They were made of 21/2 or 3” boards curved and held together by metal strappings placed every 4 feet. These straps were secured by nuts and bolts. Again, where the lengths were joined straps were held in place with more nuts and bolts. The joints were covered with an inch or more of pitch for added security.

Wooden pipes were used to bring the water down to the village. The pipes were constructed using 21/2” to 3” boards curved and held together by wire wound around to hold the boards together.

Every 4’ a large metal band held firmly in place by nuts and bolts reinforced the pipes. All the joints were given a good inch coating of tar.

The inside of the pipes measured about 10” in diameter.

The pipes were constructed in 8’ lengths which were fit together snuggly and then bolted together. These joints were also well tarred.

Pieces of this pipe, although no longer in use, is still buried along the route. Although originally it supplied sufficient water to the village residents this system was not without its difficulties.

The dam was built on the corner of a farm and in summer evenings when the farmer’s cows made their way home to be milked they crossed the feeder to the dam.

The result was rather muddy water came out of village taps for a little while every evening. Later, when this dam provided insufficient water for a growing population it was replaced another source at Lake Vail.

This new system had metal pipes rather than the old wooden ones. The water system bought over by the Village in 1950.

The following information re the installation of the waterworks was taken from an address by Henry Lord’s son, Eddy, to the Rawdon Chamber of Commerce, October 9, 1952.

In 1909 a representative group of residents of Rawdon approached William Lord of St Jacques de Montcalm requesting he build an aqueduct for their town. After careful consideration and planning Mr. Lord sent his son, Henry, to install the requested water system in Rawdon.

The work started that year and was completed in 1910. The water was taken from a stream running north of Queen Street and went down the village as far as Crowe’s (the brick house on the corner of Metcalfe Street and 4th Avenue). The source of water was below the village level and so a ram, a self propelling device in common use at the time, was installed to pump the water through the system.

Of the population of about 557 people, 18 property owners subscribed to the water system giving a total of $180. per year to pay Lord for this new service. The first subscriber was John Daly. From this seemingly slow start, demand outgrew the supply and in 1939 Henry built a dam on a stream coming down from Lake Brennan and Lac Clair. The main pipeline was changed from a 4″ (approx. 10 cm.) pipe to pipes of 6″ and 8″ (approx. 10 to 20 cm.).

Again in 1946, the demand outgrew the supply and a new source of water was needed. Henry Lord engaged engineers to survey the area for another source of water.

Lake Vail, a spring fed lake with enough height to give adequate pressure, was considered a promising source but at this time Mr. Lord felt he could not invest the required capital.

By 1948 Henry was not in good health and sold the water system to his son, Eddy. The latter immediately looked around for a less expensive solution to the problem of inadequate water supply for the ever increasing population.

The Minister of Health gave permission for the water to be taken from the Oureau River below the Gatineau Power Dam. Two thousand feet of 8″ (approx. 20 cm.) pipe was purchased and a 100 h.p electric pump with a gas auxiliary in case of a power failure, was to be installed. This was expected to have a capacity of pumping 1,000 gallon per minute into the system. Such an investment required a guarantee of some sort and Mr. Lord asked for a 25 year franchise from the village councillors.

The council considered purchasing the system would be a better idea and in January 1950 a referendum was held on the subject. The result was a resounding approval for purchase. (191 for, 15 against).

In May 1951 the municipality purchased the system with Eddy Lord appointed manager.

Nothing was done to increase the water available until a few years later when Lake Vail was finally tapped.

Once again the demand outgrew the supply and soon villagers were complaining long and loud about lack of water pressure, yellow water and plain, dirty water. For years their cries went unheeded.

Meantime in the township various areas had their own water supplies, installed by the individual land developers. Various degrees of satisfaction to the recipients regarding the quantity and quality of water.

The provincial government established basic requirements for all water supplies. Legislation was passed by the provincial government requiring municipal councils to take over all private systems and bring them up to the new standards. The village corporation tapped onto the township supply where it was feasible.

With the fusion of the township and village in 1995 the waterworks came under a single jurisdiction and a new, more adequate, supply became a primary concern which still has not been resolved.