Springs and spouts

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Three storytellers from Ebbw in south Wales talk of their experiences of natural springs and spouts and the effects of droughts on these natural resources. In 1975, the teller recalls the spring on his property running dry. Having installed tanks, 1976 struck and the teller recalls carrying jerry cans up to the tanks to keep them topped up with water so that the taps could flow. Teller 2 remembers before the war, every village had a ‘village spout’ in Commercial street that people could access. Teller 3 remembers the public, iron spouts too and recalls one which dried up for good in 1976.

Speaker 1: We bought a house in a place called Moneth Drummer which overlooks Neath. It had its own spring which we were told never runs dry. I don’t know if that was an exaggeration but I think generally it was true. In 1975 it did run dry and we thought we’d better do something about this. There was only a small place to take off the water from the stream so we took two 400 gallon tanks so that we had some resource and of course the following year was 1976 and it actually ran dry for six weeks. I found myself hauling a combination of borrowed jerry cans and various other utensils from a tap on the public supply up to the tanks to top them up so at least we had some water through the taps so we could do things.

Speaker 2:  I can remember before the war when every village had a spout where the water always flowed, or always seemed to flow, and I can remember particularly Ynysddu where there was a big spout in Commercial Street coming off the mountain. In the winter, there was a violent amount of water but in the summer, it ran very low, I’m talking the 1930s now.  

Speaker 3:  There was another spout in Rogerstone in Weston Valley Road, my late wife in fact lived on that road and in 1976 the spout dried up and I don’t think it ran ever since. They called it the spout, they lived 3 doors down. The spout was the water supply, it came out of the wall with an iron pipe and I think people at some time in the past would use it as their water source.

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