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Dumbea River Big Pool New Caledonia
Nouvelle Calédonie

There is a lot of history here. This is the Dumbea River Watershed Reserve and the water from this river supplied the growing city of Noumea with fresh water for over a hundred years.

Noumea was founded in 1854. It was, at first, called Port de France and the location was selected for the excellent natural harbour. But the site had no source of fresh water. At first a small river, the Yahoué, supplied water to the colony but it was never enough and in 1893 the colonists built an impressive 20km long aqueduct up into the mountains where they constructed a dam on the Dumbea river.

The mountain watershed around the Dumbea was protected as a water reserve and no building or mining was allowed to threaten Dumbea's water supply area. The pathway I stood on when I took this sphere image covers the 120 year old iron aqueduct

The enormous natural pool below me was a popular swimming hole when the dam was being built just a short distance from here. By 1996 Noumea had over 76,000 residents and the Dumbea could no longer supply Noumea's water requirements. Plus the old iron aqueduct had some serious leaks. The City built a new aqueduct over 50 km long to the Tontouta River and this was put into service in 2001.

The Dumbea aqueduct is now abandoned and the old iron pipe broken in many places. But the mountainous watershed reserve is still a protected wilderness area and a very popular place for Noumea residents to picnic and camp on the weekends. In 2010, following a series of fires set by mindless, drunken weekend idiots the government barred the road and the river to prevent access by cars. Now, if someone wishes to visit this huge pool they have to walk about an hour to get there.

People still do make the trek, but not people with big coolers full of beer and BBQ fixings. They stay in an area where there are picnic facilities along the winding dirt road, in a zone that can be accessed more easily by fire trucks.

One remarkable side effect of the need to walk to the site, in addition to the absence of blaring country western, reggae and hip hop, is that after only two years a lot of the graffiti has faded away and the litter has vanished. Areas that were blackened cinders just a couple of years ago are now showing a blush of green again.

When I stood right in the same spot in 2009 the big pool was well populated with swimmers. Sun bathers lay like big colourful seals on the river rocks. Last Saturday when we hiked here to take this sphere image we only saw one family of four and one jogger. It was nice, actually.

Copyright: Richard chesher
Type: Spherical
Resolution: 12732x6366
Chargée: 20/05/2012
Mis à jour: 26/05/2014
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Tags: dumbea river; dumbea riviere; new caleodnia; swimming; freshwater; water; reserve; water reserve
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More About Nouvelle Calédonie

Une Nation du Pacifique Sud, la plus proche de l'Australie et de la Nouvelle Zélande. Une chaîne de hautes montagnes, d'impressionnantes cascades et de nombreuses rivières avec une flore et une faune variée et souvent unique au monde - C'est le paradis de la randonnée pédestre ou équestre ainsi que de l'excursion en véhicule tout-terrain.Le plus grand lagon du monde, peuplé d'une faune tropicale endémique particulièrement riche, avec des récifs et des populations de poissons rares et protégées. Des centaines d'épaves sous-marines, des îlots, de nombreuses plages de sable blanc. La population calédonienne est issue d'un large brassage culturel : Mélanésiens, Européens, Polynésiens, Vietnamiens, Chinois, Japonais, et la langue et culture française. La Nouvelle-Calédonie est dotée de très bonnes infrastructures médicales et sociales. Une infrastructure touristique qui offre un large éventail de types d'hébergement allant de l'hôtel 5 étoiles au camping aménagé en passant par l'accueil en milieu tribal, les chambres d'hôtes, les refuges et l'auberge de jeunesse.