Believe it or not, we had no water scheme in Ballymoney until 1966 (that’s only a few short years ago, at least for some of us). A few of the luckier households had their own supply, but for the majority, water was harvested from our rooves for flushing toilets and washing. A major source of potable water was a spout in Cooney’s yard, down the lane opposite Rose Cottage. This spout was fed from a well just below the house named after the ill-fated Isallt. It actually spewed out about 180,000 gallons of water a day, most of it ending up in the sea. Another source of water was the pump near the forge, just a few meters away from Ballymoney shop, towards Courtown. The pump was in a pretty recess surrounded by stone walls. Unfortunately, the pump has fallen victim to petty thieves in recent years.
So, in the Summer months, when rainfall was low, barrels of water were collected from the spout or pump and carted to the local houses by donkey and cart or whatever means and bucketed into barrels at high level over the toilets/latrines for flushing purposes. Buckets of water were fetched on a daily basis for drinking and cooking. So water harvesting/conservation is not a 21st century invention, we had it back then. Ballymoney decided it was time to have a public water supply and a few hard-working individuals got into gear. They formed a committee and as head of this committee they placed a new-comer to the area, Mr Guy Nottidge. Guy had spent several years in Kenya, so had plenty of experience dealing with water or the lack of it. He and his wife had settled in Ballymoney in 1962. Working tirelessly, Guy and his team came up with a scheme to bring “piped” water to Ballymoney. Wells were identified, the main one in Ballincarrig, on Frank Roche’s land, but three in all, to keep supplies up in the Summer months. Over 90 homes were connected at first and subsequently up to 100 properties in Tara Cove. As Ballymoney grew in numbers and holiday homes became more and more popular, the water scheme came under pressure, the local committee applied to Wexford Co. Council to take over the scheme. This did not happen until some years later.
So Ballymoney Water Scheme was up and running in 1966, thanks to Mr Guy Nottidge and his committee. The original committee comprised Mr Jim Clince, Mr Jack Reid, Mr Guy Nottidge, Mr Hugh Hayden (senior) and Mr Ray Spencer. Guy Nottidge returned to his native Norfolk in England for his second retirement after coming to Ballymoney to retire from Kenya for the first time. He definitely didn’t retire in Ballymoney!!!!.
The insert shows Mr Jack Reid awarding Guy with a silver tray in recognition of his outstanding efforts in bringing piped water to Ballymoney. The Ballymoney water scheme continued for several years, with various members joining the committee, until eventually in 2011/2012 The Local Authority took over the scheme, with water now coming from the Gorey scheme and the local wells redundant. As a sub-note, nothing delighted Mr and Mrs Nottidge more than, on Halloween, when the children from the surrounding area knocked on their door trick or treating. Songs, poems and recitations were always on the cards and the youngsters always obliged. They were rewarded with copious amounts of sweets, apples and all sorts of goodies.