In 1901 it was decided to build a reservoir at Titirangi as part of the Auxillary Supply – an emergency pipe into the city from Nihotupu to fix the city’s desperate water shortage. The site selected was a flat piece of ground just west of Smyth’s saddle. Unfortunately during construction it was found the site had insufficient soil strength and had to be abandoned. A new site was selected and a the plans changed from a reservoir to a much smaller ‘Break Pressure’ tank. This was built right at Smyth’s saddle and later incorporated into the Nihotupu Filter Station.
The emergency supply was an idea created by Henry Atkinson adapted from previous ideas that had been around for at least 40 years. The exact location the reservoir was built is not known, but looks to have been just west of Smyths saddle so would be in the vicinity of the present day Huia Water Treatment Plant.
A tender for construction was let in December.
Construction began almost immediately and the Mayor visited later in December to check on progress.
But suddenly in February things weren’t looking so good. The ground was found to be soft and the reservoir had to be abandoned.
An engineering review was carried out and it was decided to move the site up the road to directly at Smyth’s saddle and build a much smaller ‘Break Pressure’ tank instead. This was later incorporated into the Nihotupu Filter Station.
Later, ground instability was the cause of more bad luck for the waterworks when the pond at the Huia Water Treatment Plant collapsed.
In 2017 Watercare are proposing to build two 60m diameter high above-ground reservoirs on a site that appears to be in a very similar location to that selected in 1901. Let’s hope they they’ve investigated more thoroughly this time.