White Reservoir

The White Reservoir is mostly in Westhampton but the dam is in Southampton. Land was purchased in 1910 for this new reservoir. It was built from 1910 to 1912 and finished on July 16 of 1913 but as of 1982 it is only a retainer dam and reservoir. The storage capacity of the White is 650 million gallons of water.

In the years before it was built, Holyoke Water Works had been buying lands in those two communities. Farms were being abandoned anyway and so people were not being kicked off the land. One important buy was the Lyman Homestead bought in 1911 for the White Reservoir caretaker.

A gate once blocked the entrance but at this point it is just an ornament. This gate was made in 1947 that is why it still looks new. It also got a flagstone access road that year.

The dam has a gatehouse and a spillway. The dam is 360 feet long and 48 feet high.

In order to improve the run off situation here, in 1935 Sand Hill which is in front of the dam had its summit grade lowered for a length of 500 feet. Then the next year, the earthen embankment on the downstream side of the dam was raised 4 feet.

By 1939 the face of the dam was falling apart already. In comes the WPA and work one of their miracles to fix that face. The dam would continue to cause problems for years in one way or another. For example, in 1947, the White Reservoir Dam was in poor shape again on its face, wing walls, and spillway. Water was drained from the reservoir in March of that year and a contractor started work that was finished on May 9th. But that draining of the White plus a drought year caused the reservoir system to be at its lowest in 30 years. Total storage was only 795 MG which is half of maximum.

Cool facts:

In 1957, rainfall amounts were off by 30 % and so on November 9 of that year White Reservoir was empty.

Holyoke Reservoir System after the 1955 Hurricane

Rainfall amounts at White Reservoir