An extract from Go Hard or Go Home by Stewart (Scuff) McSkimming: - The town reservoir sat at the northwest end of Clyde, on top of the hill as you enter the Cromwell Gorge. One day after school, aged about ten or eleven, Grant Sanders, Brian Holland, Gus Parks and I were up at the reservoir mucking about. We looked under a rock and saw a piece of steel hanging out. Someone pulled it and it was about one-and-a-half metres long with a big square piece in the middle. It looked like a giant key and we soon figured out that’s exactly what it was - the key to the big gate valve low down on the reservoir wall. We got the key onto the valve, managed to turn it and open the valve a little and water from the reservoir started surging down an open race, gushing straight out of the dam wall and splashing down onto the road two or three hundred metres below. It looked pretty spectacular, so we opened it up a bit more, then it really started gushing. Woo hoo! After a few minutes we thought we’d better shut it off. We tried to close the gate valve, but it was jammed and we didn’t have the nous to figure out how to close it. We panicked and took the key out and put it back under the rock where we’d found it and ran for home with the water still gushing out, thinking, ‘Oh Jesus! What’s going to happen?’
At home that night I soon got distracted and forgot all about it. After dinner, Dad was standing at the sink ready to wash the dishes like usual when he said, “Vi, there’s no bloody cold water! What’s going on?”
I thought to myself, ‘Nah, can’t be …’
“There’s no bloody cold water! That bloody Vincent County Council. What are they doing, the useless buggers?”
About ten minutes later there was a knock at the front door and I looked out of the window and saw Bill Waldron, the boss of the water department for Vincent County. I thought, ‘Uh oh!’ and decided to make myself scarce, but I could overhear them talking from my bedroom.
“Gidday Fred. How are ya?”
“Yeah, good Bill. Bill, there’s no bloody cold water, what are you blokes at the Vincent County playing at?”
“Is Scuff home?”
“Scuff … yeah, he's around somewhere. Why’s that?”
“The reservoir’s been run dry and the town’s got no water!”
“You’re joking Bill! But what’s that got to do with Scuff?”
At that point, I got called out of my room and asked if I knew anything about it. I said, “No, no, no …”
“I know you were up there,” Bill said. “You and that Grant Sanders, Brian Holland and Gus Parkes, the four of you were seen up there.”
“Well yeah, we couldn’t shut the valve Mr Waldron,” I finally admitted.
“Well, I’ve been up there and shut it myself. If there’s a fire tonight, there’ll be trouble!”
The whole town had no water! I can’t remember what my punishment was, but I probably got a belt around the bum or a smack around the ears, or both. I know it took about two months for the reservoir to re-fill completely. I remember hoping there wouldn’t be a fire.