Water is life… The shovel is divine
From Ditches to Pipes
The use and control of water controls the future
The earliest settlers in Leeds used innovation and hard work to divert water from Leeds Creek to their homes, fields, and industry. The town pioneers carefully studied the lay of the land between the creek and the settlement and selected a route that would transport the water to Leeds. The lowly hand shovel was their “divine tool.” Digging ditches with pick and shovel and teams of work horses across the rocky terrain was hard and seemingly endless work. Ingenuity was required in keeping the path of the ditch in a
downhill direction to maintain water flow. Building a good ditch system took clever minds, strong backs, and great determination.
The Leeds Water Company was established in the late 1800s to legally secure and organize rights to use local water, a historically controversial and difficult task in the arid West.
The main ditch carried Leeds Creek water to the northeastern edge of the town. From that point, ditches conveyed the water to town lots and beyond to the nearby agricultural fields. Prized lots in Leeds were those that fronted the ditch, especially lots that were closest to the beginning of the ditch, where pollutants from upstream use of the water were fewer.
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