TitleSheffield City Council: Water Committee Signed and Draft Minutes and Reports
AdminHistoryThe Water Committee was established in 1886. It acted under the Sheffield Corporation (Water) Act of 1887 and the Public Health (Water) Act of 1878.

Sheffield's water supply was in private hands until The Sheffield Waterworks Company was incorporated in 1830, taking over the piecemeal water supply. A large service dam was established at Crookes in 1833 and three new reservoirs at Redmires were completed in 1836, 1849 and 1854. Two impounding reservoirs for compensation water followed at Rivelin Upper and Lower in 1848. The Consolidation Act of 1853 allowed the Company to raise further capital to extend its works, including new reservoirs at Dale Dyke, Agden Brooks and Strines in the Loxley Valley area. Work commenced in 1859; Dam Flask was completed in 1867, Agden Reservoir in 1869 and Strines Reservoir in 1871.

The Company's offices at Division Street in Sheffield were opened in 1869.

Under the Waterworks Company's Act of 1867, the company undertook to furnish a constant supply of water to the town after 29th July 1869. A constant supply was maintained for only three or four weeks after this date. On the basis of the Company's failure to carry out its obligation, the Corporation deposited a Bill in Parliament to empower it to purchase the Company. At this time the Council established a Water Works Committee (see CA-WWK) to negotiate the purchase of the works of the Sheffield Waterworks Company. This and subsequent bills created acrimony between the Company and Corporation, but it was not until 1887 that the Corporation was successful in taking over the Water Company. The Company was then seeking powers to extend its 25% surcharge beyond the 25 years authorised after the Sheffield flood of 1864. The Corporation's response, a bill to municipalise the Water Company, was this time successful and the Company was purchased for £2,092,014.

Little Don Valley

As far back as 1867, the Waterworks Company had obtained powers to construct reservoirs in the Ewden Valley, powers they never used. Then, in 1895, Barnsley Corporation laid claim to the waters of the Little Don and promoted a bill which met with stiff opposition from Sheffield Corporation in Parliament. In the following Parliamentary Session, Sheffield Corporation promoted its own bill and, as a result, a compromise was reached which gave Barnsley the right to the waters of the Hagg Brook (Midhope Reservoir) and Sheffield the control of the Little Don Valley watershed (Langsett (completed 1904) and Underbank (completed 1907) reservoirs). In addition, Sheffield became responsible for supplying the Corporations of Rotherham and Doncaster, who could also lay claim to Don water, with 2,600,000 gallons per day from the Langsett reservoir. In 1913, work finally commenced on the Broomhead and More Hall reservoirs in the Ewden Valley completing the present-day network of reservoirs in the Don watershed.
There were two reservoirs - Langsett and Underbank

Ewden Valley

In 1867 the company obtained powers to construct two new reservoirs in the Ewden Valley between Oughtibridge and Bolsterstone, though construction did not actually take place until 1913 when the Broomhead and Morehall reservoirs were started. Construction was completed in 1929.

Derwent Valley Water Works

In 1899 Leicester and Derby sought powers to obtain rights over the head waters of the River Derwent, above Bamford. Sheffield objected to this and instead agreement was reached in the formation of the Derwent Valley Water Board, constituted with members from Sheffield, Derby City, Leicester City, Nottingham City and Derbyshire County. The Board established reservoirs at Howden (1912), Derwent (1916) and Ladybower (1945).

River Don Pumping Scheme

In 1919 the corporation obtained powers to utilise the River Don for compensation purposes. A plant was established at Wincobank for this.

Elvington Works

The Yorkshire River Derwent Scheme authorised the corporation to draw water direct from a river and pump it into the supply without using a reservoir. A pumping station at Elvington, near York, was established for this. Sheffield shared the supply with Leeds, Barnsley and Rotherham.

Water Industry Reorganisation

By the time of the First World War there were 2,160 water undertakings including 786 local authorities across the country. The Water Act of 1945 encouraged amalgamations of water companies and boards and by 1963 the numbers had reduced to 100 water boards, 50 local authorities and 29 privately owned statutory water companies.

In Sheffield and South Yorkshire the Sheffield Corporation took over the water supply services of the urban districts of Mexborough and Wath and the rural districts of Rotherham and Kiveton Park in the 1960s (it had been supplying Rotherham and Doncaster since around 1900).

The Water Act of 1973 fundamentally reorganised the water industry. It was removed from local authority control, and ten larger water authorities were set up. The Yorkshire Water Authority took over the functions of 22 local authorities across Yorkshire and parts of Derbyshire, including Sheffield City Council, Barnsley Borough Council, Rotherham Borough Council, the urban districts of Norton and Rawmarsh, the Doncaster and District Joint Water Board and the Yorkshire River Authority.

For Indoor and Outdoor Sub-Committee Minutes for 1888, see YWA/1/2/2/1 - 2.
Date1886 - 1974
Extent53 items
AccessConditionsThe signed draft minutes and reports contain personal information about staff which is closed for 75 years under the Data Protection Act (exempt under section 41 of the Freedom of Information Act). Please refer to Sheffield Archives for advice on how to access the restricted items.
RelatedMaterialSheffield City Council: Water Works Committee, 1876 - 1882 (CA-WWK)

Yorkshire Water Authority (YWA)
AcquisitionSourceThese items were transferred form the Legal and Governance Section in 1976 and 2003.
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