13 August 2015

Birchville Dam

  • Birchville Dam under construction, circa 1928-29. Reference P1-375-1813, Malkin, Mrs E. Collection. Upper Hutt City Library.

Completed in early 1931, the Birchville Dam is a water supply dam on Clarke's Stream, a west bank tributary of the Hutt River north of Upper Hutt.

The land around the stream was purchased by the Upper Hutt Town Board for a water supply reserve in March 1914 to provide a supply to Upper Hutt Borough in April of that year.

The contract for this dam was awarded to MG Templeton in April 1930. The engineer for the work was Henry Featherston Toogood (1879–1962), a Wellington consulting engineer. The Clerk of Works was John Cudby. Council records show that an extension of the contract period was granted in November 1930 and that by February 1931 an additional loan of 10 per cent of the contract price (5,800 pounds) was required. Water from the dam was fed into the original pipeline via a new 12 inch (300 millimetre) pipe, the remains of which can be seen in places along the streambed.

The dam is a concrete arch dam with a 27.5 metres (m) radius and a crest length of 40 m (arch length 46 m) and is approximately 15 m high. The infill of boulders at the foot of the dam, to protect against scour, makes the dam appear lower. The lake behind the dam is partially silted up.