Manchester is among the famous cities in the UK not only for its rich cultural heritage but also as a city with rich history of soccer. Millions of people visit the city for work opportunities, as tourists while some come to check out the soccer matches. As a city with thousands of people living within it, there must be a reliable source of water for drinking, domestic use, industrial use and for general use in businesses around it. Water generated for public and private usage in this city is surprising from Lake City which is kilometers away, approximately 134 km. A big city like Manchester cannot afford to experience lack of water.
Large tunnels all the way from Lake City to Manchester were built by engineers to facilitate the flow of water from this long distance. Engineers from a certain company called United Utilities started by draining water located in the ground. This feat was accomplished in the late 1880s, this goes on to show how advanced the engineers of those times were. The cave-like tunnels were made so that huge pipes of approximately two meters wide could be laid on the ground without unnecessary obstructions. As much as the geography of Lake City was distorted, engineers managed to minimize damages carried out in the area.
Water needed to combat the constantly growing city comes from water reservoirs which are man-made. Thirlmere Aqueduct is the main water reservoir in Lake City, and it was founded during the Victorian era. What makes this engineering technique worthy of its name is how the layout still holds, but with constant repairs and maintenance when needed. For water to reach its destination, it travels for around twenty-four hours with the application of pressure. In terms of amount of water per day travelling in these pipes, it can be considered approximately 278 million litres of water. An engineer called Bateman was the overseer of this project which took four years of construction before opening it up for use.
What makes the aqueduct and reservoir exemplary is that water relies on gravity alone for it to travel the distance. It might be probably because when construction was taking place, the concept of electricity had not been explored. Bateman got clever about the situation by utilising physics to enable water to flow without hindrance via gravity. The speed of water in the aqueduct is around 7 kilometers per hour, and that is not a slow speed. Water from Thirlmere reservoir goes through the tunnels for half the distance then cast iron pipes for the rest of the distance to Manchester.
Thirlmere dam was constructed to be 262 km in length and 20 m height. It can hold 40,000 litres of water daily with small fluctuations. This water reservoir has held Manchester City to get her by providing timely supply of water for the last 130 years and still counting. With such accomplishments being feasible, it gave way to better modern constructions. Knowledge of masonry and concrete design was necessary to enable faster progress. A technique of Cut and Cover was employed which means that unskilled labourers were tasked to dig out soil to form a tunnel. These tunnels were made up of rocks added with concrete before they were covered with soil to make the ground level again, and with this kind of working concept, work was faster while less mistakes were made during its erection.
The city has kept growing and thriving since then after lack of water resources which was a major issue got resolved. Bateman as an engineer was acknowledged to have seen through the city’s most dire need by making an impossible feat to accomplish at that time. Years of water stability was achieved during this period as the reservoir is still in function till today. Constant monitoring and upgrades have been made to strengthen the lifespan of tunnels. At Lake City, the scenery is well-suited for hiking or biking because of its natural scenery. It is interesting to see how people before us solved major issues without relying on technology.
Lack of water is rare because of abundant supply from Lake City. What is interesting is not only the history behind the construction, but also how people rely on such an uncommon source of water supply. Given that a city like Manchester has a huge population throughout, water must be readily available.