A WATER COMMISSION FOR NEW YORK.

A WATER COMMISSION FOR NEW YORK.

On the request of Commissioner Monroe, of the department of water supply of New York city. Mayor Low has appointed three expert engineers, having no connection with, and being altogether independent of the city government, to study and report upon available resources for an increase of water supply for Greater New York, and the best means of preventing waste. The appointees are as follows: Professor William Henry Burr, Columbia college, Manhattan, New York; Rudolph Hering. New York: and John R. Freeman, of Providence, R. L

In his letter appointing the commission Mayor Low says that “it is intended to ask these engineers to give all the necessary information with reference to every available watershed in sufficient detail to enable the city to know, as to each one, how much water can be had, how long it will take to get it, and how much it will cost per 100,000,000 gallons. With this information in hand it ought to be possible for the city authorities to decide what is the best thing to do. The commission will be instructed to give equal attention to the stoppage of waste. There is no disposition to undervalue the importance of such an inquiry as to waste; but it is clear that both branches of the industry should be carried on at the same time. Any enlargement of the water supply of New York upon a scale that will suffice for the growth of the city even for a few years, will demand a large outlay of time, even after the plans have been developed and adopted. Any saving that can be made by the stoppage of waste will also take time and cost a great deal of money, and the plans, even when prepared and adopted, can be carried into effect only gradually.”

Prof. Burr is a constructing engineer of wide experience and great ability. He has recently served upon the Isthmian Canal commission. The high reputation borne by Messrs. Hering and Freeman is well known. Each has, besides, recently made the subject of the water supply of this city a special study. _

A WATER COMMISSION FOR NEW YORK.

A WATER COMMISSION FOR NEW YORK.

IT has been proposed, and in the eyes of some, not unwisely, that a water commission, with wide powers, should be created to investigate and select a new source of supply for New York city. The suggestion has, of course, been met by opposition. It is claimed that to create such a commission is to go ahead somewhat too quickly, and that there will be no need of a new source of supply for many years. On the contrary, it is insisted that all that is called for is some means of storing the millions of gallons of Croton water that are daily lost through the sheer lack of means to impound them, the stoppage of the leaks in the mains, and the compulsory installation of meters all through the city. But granted that, as one of the most conservative of this city’s dailies states,

untold billions of gallons of water have fallen in the last few weeks within the watershed of this city, and have gone to swell the tides of the Atlantic, simply for lack of facilities for impounding the flood;

granted, also, for argument’s sake only, that

there is not now storage capacity for nearly all the water that may be impounded in the Croton district, [and that] there is unmistakable evidence that there is an enormous waste of water from the mains, exclusive of any waste there may be upon private premises, and that the waste on private and many business premises, if stopped, as all admit it should be stopped by meterage of the water, what then? Does it, therefore, follow that no steps should be taken to provide a new source of supply? Even the most outspoken against taking this last step admit that in ten years at most, at the present rate of growth in building and population, New York must be provided with a new source of supply. Competent judges, who can certainly be acquitted of having any axe to grind, insist that long before ten years are out that new source of supply will be imperatively called for. If so, it will then have to be provided without delay. But sources of water supply are not stumbled upon in a day, nor are the reservoirs, pumping and filtration stations, conduits, mains, and the like built and laid down at a moment’s notice. To determine upon a source of supply, it is required to compare one watershed and district with another, to make analyses of the different waters, often to bore test wells so as to arrive at a knowledge of the various soils, find out the cost of expropriating the property or pieces of property concerned, and to make careful and accurate comparison as to price, engineering, and any physical difficulties, the quality of the various waters, the rainfall on the watersheds, and many other points, all of which must be cleared up before a source of supply is decided upon. All that takes a considerable time, and a still longer season is demanded before the plant is ready for operation. Meanwhile the probabilities are that the people will be on short allowance of water; their properties will be exposed to danger from fire, to fight which no adequate means are at hand ; and the business prospects of the neighborhood will be thrown back indefinitely,owing to its being impossible to supply the amount of water requisite for the establishment of those industries which build up a city. But by securing today at a moderate rate watersheds, whose price will go up skyhigh long before ten years have expired, the preliminary delays will be avoided, and the means of meeting the Increased demand for water will be present. It is never a mistake to take time by the forelock. Wherefore, by appointing the commission referred to, and thus securing a trust worthy report as to the proposed sources of supply, will be to save time and expense in the end, and so to benefit the citizens of New York, instead of hurting them by the delays that must ensue if a contrary course is adopted.