EXTENSION OF METERAGE IN NEW YORK.
Mayor Mitchel, of New York City, last week approved a legislative bill authorizing the extension of the water meter system to every house in the city occupied by two or more families. In approving the measure the mayor said the assertion that installation of meters would restrict the use of water was erroneous. The bill then went to the Governor for his consideration and the New York “Press,” in an editorial favoring the measure and entitled “Water Meters a Good Thing,” said: “Mayor Mitchel was not impressed with arguments made before him in opposition to the bill authorizing the city to extend the water meter system, and he has signed it. The Governor should do the same thing, as the objections made at the Mayor’s hearing are no more worthy of his consideration. It was urged, for instance, that New York has a bountiful supply of water, obtained at great expense, so there is no need of being niggardly with it. The city’s water supply just now is bountiful, for which we may be duly thankful, but it is not inexhaustible. It was not so very long ago, however, that we were in a panic over a threatened water famine. Our needs probably have been anticipated for some years, but there will come a time when economy will be essential, if not imperative. Why not be forehanded, for once? Teach consumers not to waste now, and in time of necessity they will know how to save. More immediate is the problem of expense. The Commissioner of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity demonstrated in his last report that there is a huge waste of water. While some portions of New York are served by gravity, a large proportion of its area is served by pumps. If water were free as air, still it would cost money to pump it. A look at the coal bills of the pumping stations will show any one whether there is need for economy or whether the flat rate, useall-you-can system should be continued. There is a great deal of misunderstanding about water meters. No one wants water to be expensive. It is good business for the city to encourage its liberal use on grounds of health and sanitation. But this is as easily accomplished by a low meter rate without waste as by a flat rate with waste, and the meter does stop reckless waste. The frontage rate will be abolished sooner or later. Why not sooner ? In last week’s issue of this journal an editorial appeared relating to the installation of meters in New York, calling attention to the high cost of setting them charged by plumbers. The legislative measure which has been signed by the Mayor would enable the extension of meters in the city as it gives the Water Commissioner broader powers and this makes particularly timely the question of supervision over meter selling charges. A late dispatch from Albany states Governor Whitman signed the measure.