Waihi Municipal Water Supply Dams
The Walmsley Municipal Water Supply Dam is on the Walmsley Stream, just upstream of a small un-named tributary. This wonderfully ugly concrete structure was built during 1904, with the water being turned on by the Hon. R. J. Seddon on March 13th, 1905. Establishing this water works was a landmark event for the Borough of Waihi, and this structure served Waihi for almost 100 years.
Access is via Reservoir Road, formerly called Upper Gladstone Road, Waihi. NZ Grid GPS co-ordinates for the site are: E1851567, N5861823.
In 2002?, new resource consent conditions required the modification of the Walmsley head works, so that the dam no longer holds water. The stream now flows through the original drainage outlet of the dam, water being captured from the flowing stream.
A smaller wooden dam was built on the tributary (early, but date unknown), not far from the main dam, but it was destroyed by fire. Owen Morgan related that the engineer of this construction was embarrassed when the water was found to be flowing into it from the main dam, instead of vice versa! How this was resolved is unknown. The remains of this dam have been located at E1851589, N5861920. Cast iron pipes are exposed in places.
An additional dam was created further upstream during the 1970's?, and appears to have been repaired or reinstated more recently. It has been constructed of plastic coated wire gabion baskets (rock filled) and black plastic sheeting. It is not supplying water at present. Co-ordinates: E1851492, N5862056.
A further intake has been located on a small stream within the "Quarry Reserve" to the west of the main Walmsley stream. No dam has been located, but galvanised pipe (4" or 100mm) can be found at the bottom of a small waterfall created by the quarry, suggesting that the intake was at or near the top of this fall. The pipe can be traced much of the way to the junction with the old water main beside the Walmsley stream (near where this small tributary joins the Walmsley). No date for this intake is available, but possibly predates the Waitete supply.
In 1957 two dams were constructed in the Waitete Stream catchment to supplement the Walmsley supply. One (the northern) is still in use today. Co-ordinates for this site are E1848956, N5859748.
The southern dam is no longer in use; the stream now flows through the original drainage outlet. It has co-ordinates E1848826, N5859573.
Until the early 1980s?, no separate reservoir storage was provided (beyond the water held behind the dams), nor was the water treated in any way. Stream creatures were known to arrive into kitchen sinks. A complete treatment plant and reservoir are now situated at Bulltown Road.