Checking Water Waste at Washington.
Water is furnished to the distribution system of the District of Columbia, by pumping from reservoirs. The total pumpage for the past year, without allowance for slip, was 8,759,862,000 gallons, the heaviest day’s pumping being 29,434,400 compared with an average of 23,999,622 gallons. The most interesting feature of the operations of the water department has been the systematic campaign conducted against the waste of water, by means of which a very large reduction in the consumption has been effected. Not only is the per-capita rate some 13 gallons less than for the preceding year, hut the total mean daily consumption is reduced from 64,500,000 to 61,200,000 gallons, with a population increase of about 6,000. These gratifying results are attributable to three causes: The location and stoppage of underground leaks, careful house-to-house inspection, and the increased use of meters. During the year underground leaks and illegitimate use of water were discovered and corrected. aggregating a flow of 9,561,000 gallons a day : a remarkable record, the details of which as shown by the results of extensive and systematically conducted tests, constitute an interesting chapter in the report of the commissioner. Electrolysis and its effects on mains and pipers, also received the careful attention of the government engineers in charge of the department. During the year 1908 meters were installed, making the number at present in use 14,579. To facilitate the work in connection with the meters in service, the following system has been adopted, and has been in successful operation since its inception: Meters are separated under these heads, viz.: Private meters where the consumption exceeds 100,000 cubic feet per quarter; private meters where the consumption does not exceed 100,000 cubic feet per quarter; fire-service meters: District of Columbia meters that have not exceeded the maximum allowance for the annual minimum payment; District of Columbia meters that have exceeded the maximum allowance for the annual minimum payment; District of Columbia meters in premises where leaks were found: District of Columbia meters in municipal institutions. The majority of the meters in use were of the Hersey make, 8,361 in all. with 2,525 Trident and 1,500 Nash meters, the balance, of various makes, in much smaller numbers. The proportion of services metered is 24 per cent., the aggregate number of water services being 60,117. The cash collections of the department, during the year, amounted to $572,752, unexpended balances and other sources of revenue bringing the total available funds up to $666,270. Cash payments and liabilities contracted, footed up $598,123. leaving a nominal balance in the treasury at the close of the year, of $68,146. Against this $20,000 payment on the pumping engine contract and $20,000 repayment on meter loan, are to be charged. During the year 96,796 feet of water mains of all sizes were laid and 120 additional lire hydrants installed.