Co-operation in Water Supply
The report on the future supply of water for the Metropolitan District of New Jersey by Allen Hazen, which leads this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING, is more than a local plan for a certain section of the country. There is contained in the last section of the report a suggestion which raises it above this and makes it of country-wide interest. This suggestion by Mr. Hazen is as to the plan of operation and shows a keen conception of the necessity of co-operation among the various municipalities concerned. It is none other than that of a species of super-commission with considerable powers, preferably with authority from the state and to be composed of men of affairs whose reputations are unassailable. In this board is to rest the management of the vast system of water supply which would furnish the municipalities concerned.
Whatever may be thought of the wisdom of Mr. Hazen’s suggestion, it is of interest, to water works men in all sections of the country. There seems no doubt but that where the urban population has spread out or threatens to do so and form large municipalities in close proximity to each other, that the only solution of the water problem is a combination of interests, whether the supply be by private companies or municipally owned water works.
Mr. Hazen’s plan of a kind of super-board is by no means an experiment but has been very successfully tried out with certain modifications in some instances, notably the Metropolitan system of Massachusetts. Some plan of co-operation either as outlined by Mr. Hazen or in some other form must take the place of independent action where similar conditions exist, in order that there may be plenty of water for all. The results of lack of co-operation are very vividly illustrated in the present chaotic conditions in many sections of the country where a go-as-you-please and grab-all policy exists. Not only does such a condition mean unnecessary expense and duplication of effort, but also it will result in an eventual shortage of water supply for the municipalities concerned, with consequent disease, discomfort and loss for the citizens. Combination and co-operation in some form would seem to be the logical solution in cases of this kind.
There are occasional rays of light which break through the dark clouds of our country-wide fire losses and give a little encouragement to chiefs and others who are striving so hard for a reduction of the waste which results from unnecessary burnings. Some of these are to be found in the annual reports of departments which at this time are being issued. Several of these report a reduction in losses in 1921 compared with other years. For instance, Philadelphia, according to Fire Marshal George W. Elliott, aggregated a loss of over $6,000,000, which is a decrease as compared with 1920 of some $2,000,000, it being the first time that a decrease has bccurred since 1915. Another decrease reported is that by State Fire Marshal John G. Gamber, which shows that the losses for Illinois for 1921 were $18,350,550, a decrease of about 9’A per cent, from 1920. Indianapolis, Ind., according to William J. Curran, superintendent of the Salvage Corps of that city, also shows a decrease of over $500,000. The latter Mr. Curran ascribes very largely to the fire prevention campaign conducted in Indianapolis by the chamber of commerce of that city under the direction of Frank C. Jordan, secretary of the Indianapolis Water Company.
Mayor Fred J. Douglas, of Utica, N. Y., has requested the common council to grant an increase of fifteen men for the fire department of that city.