Friday, July 23, 2010

Suie-Yuan-Di (水源地)

Suie-Yuan-Di literally means water-source-place in Chinese. It was a short stretch on the Hsin-Dian creek. This was the place I learned to swim, to dive, and, eventually, to practice my long-distance swimming. Starting in 1950, I was there when I was in town at least once a week because of its location:

The blue dot was where my home was located; the red-dot marks the gate of National Taiwan University; the gray area represents NTU; and the black-dot was my swimming area. It was a beautiful place. The city water intake pumps were located on the left-side in the rocky area (see picture below). There was another rocky pile on the right-side of this picture which I think was used to dam the water to assure an adequate supply of water for the city was stored in the creek. It was not designated as a scenic spot then, as it is today. There were quite a number of people swimming there beside myself. Once in a while, you could get someone to ferry you across if you wanted to explore the wilderness on the other side. There was no "beach" along the shore, it was pretty rocky, I remember. I do not know why we were allowed to swim at the water source place. Maybe they just did not know better, certainly they did not have to worry about terrorist!

This water source facility was built to supply running water for this part of Taipei City in 1909. The originally survey and plan were done by a William K. Burton of Edinburg, Scotland. He was a civil engineer who was teaching at the University of Tokyo in 1896. Taiwan was given to Japan in 1895, after so many western countries started to split China into pieces. Burton spent three years completing his plan to provide running water and an underground sewage system for Taipei city. He died of Malaria at 44. His project was finally finished 10 years later.

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