Perth Water Supply

In early times water was obtained from the river, from the lade or from ‘natural wells’.

1751 – The Town Council recommends that a pump be placed at the North Shore with a lead pipe into the river for conveying water to the pump.

1762 – Patrick McGillivrie offers to bring water from the Mill Lade and distribute it in wooden pipes to eleven different parts of the town. He would construct a reservoir at Drumhar for collecting and filtering the water.

1789-92 – The old wooden pipes in High Street and South Street are replaced by lead pipes.

1781-85 – A new source of water is sought. Springs at Magdalen’s land, Huntingtower, Burghmuir and Kinnoull are tested and yields measured.

1807-1837 – Dr Adam Anderson, rector of Perth Academy and Grammar School (The Seminaries) Rose Terrace.

1832 – Dr Anderson’s Water Works in operation. He decided the only place to obtain a pure supply of water was a well sunk in the northern part of Moncrieffe Island and the water taken by pipe to the cistern at the top of the Round House (Waterworks, Tay Street). Dr. Anderson was the chemist engineer and architect of this scheme. Supply was 100,000 gallons per day.

1860 – A reservoir was built at Wellshill. It was 20 feet higher than the cistern at the Round House.

1873 – There were 70 street wells supplied with water.

1877 – A new reservoir at Burghmuir and a second at Athollbank were constructed.

1880 – The water supply was taken to the east bank of the river.

1888 – Daily supply was 1,400,000 per day. It was necessary to have an auxiliary supply of water from above Perth Bridge.

1895 – The telephone was installed in the Round House and also electric light.

1896 – A new reservoir was constructed at Burghmuir.

1898 – A new Engine Room was built on the south side of the Round House to accommodate a more powerful pumping plant. A triple expansion steam engine was installed and a new boiler.

1900 – Muirhall reservoir was built.

1905 – Population of Perth 33,904; Scone 1,585; Total 35,489.

1919 – An epidemic of typhoid broke out. A new supply of water must be found. Present supply was suspect. Chlorination treatment was begun in November

1919 – Proposals for new sources were Tay at Woody Island, Loch Freuchie, River Almond, Water of May, Loch Ordie. Many favoured Loch Ordie but Council voting was in favour of Woody Island scheme.

1928 – New reservoir constructed at Viewlands. Woody Island scheme in operation.

1929 – Welshill Reservoir stopped being used.

1954 – Electric pumping plant installed in the Round House.

1965 – New Perth Waterworks (Gowans Terrace) opened by Princess Alexandra.

Note – Shortly before his death in 1846, Dr. Adam Anderson chalked on the wall of the Round House these words:

Aquam igne et aqua haurio