Dry winter spelled trouble for Chelsea, Quebec wells 50 years ago

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by admin on March 17, 2011

Click to read the Ottawa Citizen article from 1961

Click to read the Ottawa Citizen article from 1961

The grainy photo of two people drawing water might look familiar to some of you older generation Chelseaites. Not only would the antiquated pump in the newspaper picture bring back memories of surface wells from years past, but it might also untap a few memories of a drought in the region.

Fifty years ago – in February 1961 – many Chelsea residents were fetching emptier pails after a winter dry spell lowered well water levels.

“Mrs. Kenneth MacFarlane, on the Chelsea Road, said their dug well is so low that toilet flushing is limited to only about once a day,” reads the Ottawa Citizen article. “Mrs. Lambertus Van Zeeland, at the corner of the Chelsea Road and Highway 11, has been sending her washing to town for over two months because of a shortage of water in their well.”

Mrs. Lambertus Van Neeland of Chelsea, Quebec pumps water at the corner of Chelsea Road and Hwy 11 in 1961

Mrs. Lambertus Van Neeland of Chelsea, Quebec pumps water at the corner of Chelsea Road and Hwy 11 in 1961

Mayor Caryl Green, who sent the article to the Low Down, said Coun. Edmond Hetu has been pulling articles from the archives “to find out if there has been issues of water in the area.”

“We have heard some concerns from residents about their wells going dry,” she said.

But property owners shouldn’t start saving their tears over this Citizen article.

According to an H20 Chelsea water monitoring report from 2005, it’s mostly surface wells that incur water shortages. The report states that about 85 per cent of Chelsea’s wells are drilled.