The Argus at KellyGang 2/4/1861 (3)

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Water rights


The commission have devoted much attention to discovering a remedy for the excessive litigation complained of by water-right holders; the following series of resolutions, carried in almost every instance unanimously, embodies the views of the commission on the subject:  

1. That the diversion and use of water be legalized.

2. That the Government appoint a commission, to take evidence on oath as to the nature of each right now claimed, and that such commission should be entitled to issue titles with a secure tenure.

3. That the commission consist of three local wardens.

4. That the holders of existing rights receive sufficient notice from the commission of wardens of the time at which evidence will be taken respecting the particulars of such rights; that a fee of £5 be charged to each claimant of a water-right to cover advertising expenses, and £10 to cover the cost of objections which may be sustained; that no objection to the priority, title, &c., be entertained unless the objector lodge £10 with the commission, to cover the cost of entertaining such objection if not sustained. The deposits of the successful parties to be returned, and the balance (if any) of the unsuccessful parties' deposits, not required to defray necessary expenses, to be returned.

5. That the works connected with future water rights shall not revert to the Crown; that the tenure shall be lease for a term not exceeding 10 years; that the mode of issuing leases shall be similar to that in force for mining leases, with the addition that the lease shall date from the day when the water is rendered available; that at the expiration of leases the rights be submitted to public competition; that, the exclusive right to collect water on defined areas be open to lease, Government reserving to the public the right to use such areas for any purpose other than gathering water to be leased under the above terms; that sites for reservoirs be leased under the same terms; that reservoirs intended to contain more than one million gallons of water shall not be used until a competent hydraulic, engineers appointed by Government, has certified that they are safe; that a local board, appointed by Government, shall receive all water rents, and shall apply them to the superintendence and increase of the water supply in the district in which they are raised.

6. That any water right lessee may obtain a lease for the works in connexion with his water- right, should he prefer doing so to holding them under the miner's right, said lease to be renewable from term to term of 10 years. Lessee to pay costs of advertisements, survey, and notices and a fee of £10 for the lease and £10 fine on renewals for all works the estimated cost of the construction of which shall not exceed £l,000, and £5 additional for every £500, or portion thereof, in excess of that sum. All leases for works or water to be printed on parchment not less than 16 inches square, with blank places for filling in the conditions, &c. The names of all parties, and all transfers, sales, mortgages, &c, to be noted on the back of the lease in the presence of a justice of the peace. All these particulars are also to be registered in books kept in the warden's office for the purpose, so that persons lending money upon or purchasing such leases may know exactly what charges are upon them; such charges when paid off to be receipted on the lease, and entered in the books; no sale, mortgage, or transfer, to be valid except entered in the way prescribed and with the consent of all parties or their authorised agents; others than partners to produce a written order from one of the partners to inspect the registry of a lease, such registers to be kept under lock and key.

7. No lessee or person interested in a lease of a water right shall, on that account, be prevented from competing on perfectly equal terms with non-leaseholders on applying for other leases, nor shall any one be prevented from holding more than one lease.

8. Leases to be granted for 10 years.

9. All rights to water in the creek and existing bank rights under the new system to terminate on the same day, namely-at the termination of the leases to be granted to the bank right-holders, which are then to be submitted to public competition. No distinction to exist henceforth between bank and creek claims with regard to supply of water.

10. Creek claims to be placed in two categories-1st., those on which extraordinary expenses, amounting to not less than £500, have been incurred in cutting tail-races or erecting machinery; 2nd, ordinary creek claims: the former to be entitled to a reasonably sufficient supply of water, to be determined by the commission of three wardens, the latter to be entitled to a fixed quantity of water to be determined by the mining board; no creek to receive this supply unless demanded by not less than 12 men, bona fide intending to work that creek through the warden.


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