CHICAGO WOMEN ADVOCATE METERS.
Just as the campaign to arouse the people of the city of Chicago to the high rate of water consumption there and to the need for the adoption of meters to curtail the water waste may be said to have reached a focal point, the first hearing by a sub-committee of the Finance Committee of the City Council having held an initial public hearing, significant fruit was borne in a bulletin issued by the Women’s City Club. This struck the nail on the head in that it took cognizance of the cost of pumpage and the use of coal. These are two significant factors in Chicago, where many residents have inclined to the view that if water consumption is high it does not matter because of the plentiful supply obtainable from Lake Michigan from which Chicago draws its water. These citizens overlooked the heavy expense to the municipality of pumping the water from the lake throughout the city, and now, with war conditions, the point of saving coal has become more than an economical one, it is a patriotic one besides. The president of the Women’s City Club is chairman of the Women’s Committee of the Council of Defense, Illinois Division, and according to the bulletin issued the conservation of water lost through waste and leakage would mean the saving of 47,500 tons of coal for a nation that needs coal and $600,000 for a city that needs money. Incidentally, it points out, the annual water charge to the average consumer would be less than the present tax charge. Amelia Sears, director of the club, said this wastefulness will continue until a policy of metering is inaugurated. She recited that to the average consumer the cost would be less; that while the flat rate charge applicable to thousands of small houses is $5.64 and an ordinary two-flat building is charged $10.80 a year, in three sections of Chicago where meters heretofore have been installed in residences and two-flat buildings the records show average yearly charge for residences to be $4, $4.50 and $6.75 and that many consumers pay less than $4 per year. Accounts covering one hundred two-flat buildings show an average charge of $5.70. At the first public hearing held by a sub-committee of the City Council’s Finance Committee on the recommendation of the Chicago Bureau of Public Efficiency, representatives of several civic organizations were present to endorse the proposal to install meters. That the above-mentioned women’s organization has come out so unqualifiedly in favor of a meter system indicates that material progress has been made in the campaign of Education in Chicago to arouse the people to a realization of the water situation and the available remedy.