Film ID:
YFA 1970



Visitor Tabs


Commissioned by Sheffield Water Undertaking, this film tells the story of how water is supplied to Sheffield and warns of the importance not to waste water.  It shows some of the local reservoirs, pumping stations and treatment works, as well as the Sheffield Water Undertaking sports ground at Crookes.

Title – Water! The Story Of Your Local Supply

The film opens with a dripping tap in a bathroom, which a boy comes in to use and leaves still dripping.  Leaving the house, he walks down a road in the pouring rain.  Members of Sheffield Corporation Water Committee meet around a large table in Castle Market headquarters and mention the history of water management in the region.  A woman comes into the building with a water problem, and the telephonist receptionist takes calls from the switchboard.  In the office of the Senior Engineer, a representative of a company is meeting to discuss supplying his factory with mains water.  They look over maps of Sheffield and the surrounding area.  At the Eastern Pennines, the River Don starts.  The narrator gives the annual rainfall figures and how much of this is lost.  A man takes the daily rainfall measure at one of the 60 measuring points in the gathering ground.  The streams in the area all flow into this river. 

At one of the reservoirs, the reservoir attendant walks past a group having a picnic on the grass.  They are listening to the radio which is playing a pop channel.  A group of walkers make their way from the moorland down to one of the reservoirs, a 30,000 acre reservoir on the eastern slopes of the Pennines.  The commentary explains the history of water management in the region and that the grounds are open to the public and are Zones of Protection.  The group of walkers make their way around the reservoir.  Nearby trees are being grown from seedlings to refurbish the woodland in Loxley Valley.  In the Uden Valley the Broomhead and Moor Hall reservoirs are shown.

Further south and west are the three Redmires reservoirs.  The narrator informs us that only 25% of the water from the three Derwent Valley reservoirs goes to Sheffield.  In order to meet the great need of the cities in the area, a scheme was developed to take water directly from the River Derwent near Elvington.  The pipeline is shown on a map.  The 40 miles of pipeline is constructed, with large pipes being laid across railways and rivers.  At Brayton Bath near Selby a seven million gallon service reservoir and pumping station is being built.  At Frickley a pumping station is being built above coal reserves.  Here a steam train passes by in the background.  The film then shows a steelworks, with the narrator stating it is estimated that within ten years Sheffield and the area will need an extra six million gallons of water every day.

The Millhouses outdoor pool packed with swimmers, and sailors are out on Damflask reservoir where Sheffield Corporation has leased sailing rights to three accredited Sheffield sailing clubs.  Sailing boats are banked along the side of the reservoir and out on the water.  There is also a man fishing.  

On a map the filter stations around Sheffield are pointed out.  Over images of the reservoir, the narration explains water treatment.  In a water treating station, the filtration process is explained in diagrams.  Each stage of the treatment is explained as the different parts of the plant are seen at work, finishing at the sludge pond.  At the Bradfield Treatment Station, the monitors and the clarity bowls are shown.  Then on to Langsett where there are open filters.  At the Headquarters in Sheffield, a chemist takes bacterial counts which are shown on a wall chart.  There is a test for radioactive fallout and for water hardness, with an explanation of the right level of water hardness that is required and why.

As a woman is washing dishes in her kitchen it is explained that new housing developments increase the need for water.  There is a view across a large area of new housing and flats.  Traffic passes by the Oaks Water Tower which is seen from various vantage points. 

At Hadfield Open Service Reservoir at Crookes which was built in 1951, a cricket match is taking place in a sports ground field just above.   This is for the employees of the Water Undertaking.   There is also a tennis match. 

After a pipe has burst, a woman rings the Sheffield Water Undertaking.  Within four minutes they arrive to fix it, first turning off the stop tap outside situated in the road.  At the water depot a large van is being loaded and leaves to go out and carry out maintenance.  Through a metal rod, an inspector listens to a pipe for leakages.  He then goes into a house to change a washer on the tap, free of charge. 

The boy at the beginning tries a tap only to find that there is no water.  Outside a group of residents get water from a pipe on a lorry.  The boy joins them and returns with a bucketful of water which he carries upstairs.  The film ends again showing the dripping tap and with a plea not to waste water.

End credits – produced for the Sheffield Water Undertaking
Photography - Ian Gillot, Direction - John Mottershaw, Production - Alec Dalby