Water Scarcity, 1901

Another thing we take for granted. Water. An abundance of it, clean and purified coming out our taps in our own homes when we need it. A different case for many Blantyre residents even only 120 years ago.

The Summer of 1901 was hot and dry and water was becoming a scarcity.

“You never miss the water till the well runs dry” was the old adage on everybody’s mind that year. The people of Blantyre found not one drop of water coming from the street wells after 10pm in August 1901 after authorities turned the screw, closing off the supply. Scarcity of water in reservoirs was the known cause and people had to be mindful it wouldn’t be turned back on until 6am the next day.

With climate change on the forefront of 21st Century news, water shortages have recently been common as summer temperatures exceed that of recent decades, but stories like this does show clearly that summer shortages of water have indeed been taking place for a long time in Scotland.

Illustration: Courtesy Blantyre Project

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