For a State Storage Reservoir.
Reference was made some little time ago in FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING to the increasing possibility that at no very distant day some cities may find it expedient to pool their interests in the matter of a common source of water supply. Touching this possibility the dispute is still on between some of the cities of northeastern New Jersey as to which is entitled to a certain watershed. The dispute is now narrowing down toward a decision. While this question has been treated very largely from the individual view point of each contesting city, yet some observations concerning the situation have been offered of a general nature. For instance, the Jersey City Journal seems judicially minded when it says as follows:
“Newark paid pretty dearly for its water supply. The watershed was not half large enough and was exposed to pollution from many sources. This has involved frequent expense since in legal proceedings and purchase of land in efforts to escape pollution. When the land and water rights, waterworks and other items constituting the purchase of a water supply were bought, the lump sum seemed to cover a good many items which did not appear in the transfers, and among them, as has been demonstrated by court proceedings and purchases, there was a good deal of pollution.
The plant was too small. About one-half the size of the watershed of the Jersey City works, and now the Newark officials are trying to secure the Wanaque River as an additional supply. It is proposed to expend four or five millions on this annex, to meet the growing demand of Newark and allow the Newark Street and Water Board to go into the water business commercially. It appears that_ the annual increase of water consumption in Newark is about two million gallons per day per year, and by 1915 it will consume all that its present outfit will supply.
“Newark must have water, but there are other places just as much interested in procuring water. Jersey City will soon need an increased supply in spite of the fact that it has twice as much watershed as Newark has. In 1900 Jersey City used 31,290,000 gallons daily, in 1907 it used 39,150,000. To-day it is using considerably over 40,000,000 gallons daily, the exact data not being; at hand the quantity can be guessed by comparing the increase of the past. It is increasing more rapidly now than in the earlier years of the decade, for instance, 1903 the total was 33,300,000; in 1906 it was 35,800,000, and in 1907 it was 89,150,000. The same rate of interest would make the daily draft over 43,000,000 on a 50,000,000 gallon supply.
It is evident that Jersey City has as much interest in looking forward for a supply as Newark can have.
Both cities requiring more water, would it not be wiser for all hands to combine and secure a State storage reservoir, such as has been proposed by the State Water Commission to impound the flood waters of the Passaic watershed. There is enough water wasted during the flood seasons to supply either Newark or Jersey City for three years.
“If the State owned a storage reservoir with sufficient capacity to impound this flood water there would be no question about a scarcity. The water would be under control. It would do no damage in the Passaic Valley and each municipality could get its share. If each municipality goes into North Jersey and buys watersheds some will get there too late.
The State could secure a revenue from the water and it should do so, for no corporation or individual has any right to own running water.
“Sooner or later the State will have to take control of all the water, for the population, especially of East Jersey, is growing so rapidly that more potable water will be a necessity. It would be well to take the land and build a reservoir now. A few years from now the land will be so densely settled that the cost will become excessive.”