The water pipeline from Duck Creek to McGill has been a landmark sight since 1906. It was first made of wooden slats held together by metal straps.
Then in 1928, the wooden pipeline was replaced by the existing metal pipeline that threads its way along the mountain into McGill.
The water in the pipeline is not pumped, it flows by gravity. When it gets through the Gap it goes uphill for a short distance and then starts a small decline the rest of the way to McGill. This creates a suction to get the water out of the dam in Duck Creek and into McGill. It is like filling a can with ‘OP’ gas. That is ‘other people’s’ gas. You put a hose in the gas tank and then suck on it until the gas starts flowing and then it will continue flowing. It is the siphon principle.
Well, the size of the pipeline and the amount of water flowing creates a terrific suction force.
I don’t know what year this happened, but for some reason KCC needed to shut the pipeline down. Probably for some repairs. The engineer in charge was at the dam, ready to quickly turn the valve and shut off the water, when Gerald Coutts advised him that doing so would cause a great suction and collapse the pipeline. Coutts had worked at the KCC Dam for many years and had been on hand several times when the water was shut off. It was done slowly. Doing it slowly meant that the pipeline would not completely drain. Then the leftover water would be drained at all the low points of the line. The engineer scoffed at Coutts and said it would save time by turning it off quickly. Draining the line completely. So he quickly turned the valve and — Oh, well, so much for EGO–
Photos loaned to us by the Neil Greenwell family.