FOREIGN WATER SYSTEMS.
Former Water Registrar Columbus O. Johnson, of the New York water department, who was sent abroad by the Merchants’ association of New York city to investigate European systems with reference to the distribution of water, detection and prevention of waste, and the system of accounts in use, has returned and given in his report, the most interesting portions of which are as follows:
Glasgow, the first city visited, gets its water principally from loch Katrine, in the Perthshire Highlands, which is thirty-four and one-half miles distant from the city. The water is passed through a system of fine screens, and is conveyed to the reservoirs, seven miles from the city, by two aqueducts. The total cost of the water plant, which is municipal, was $19,537,885. The total daily consumption is 60,000,000 gallons (or about 72,000,000 wine gallons, the gallon measurement in England and Scotland being about twenty per cent, larger than the American wine gallon). The rate, or charge, for water is so different from the New York system as to render comparison impossible—the rate being based upon the annual rental of the property on which it is consumed, without regard to the amount used. The plant at Liverpool is also municipal. Its source of supply, Lake Vyrnwy, the Rivington reservoirs, and wells, the water being filtered through sand and gravel beds, which cover seventy-three acres. The daily per capita consumption in Liverpool is about one-fourth as much as the New York percentage. A look at the daily per capita consumption all over England and lrland. Mr. Johnson points out, does not in a single case reach one-half of that of New York. Manchester has municipalised all the public necessities, except telephones, and plans are under way to get control of these. The system in effect to detect leaks in mains, etc., if put in use here, he says, would put an end to the tearing up of streets, etc., to shut off the water. Birmingham, like the other cities mentioned, is also possessed of a municipal water plant, which is well handled by the city officials in charge of it. London does not as yet own its water supply plants, although through acts of Parliament it exerts a great control over them. There are eight of these companies, and the supply of water is now practically constant all over London. Like Glasgow, the charge for water is based on the rental value of the property. To detect waste two means are in use—one being a night inspection of all valves when the houses arc closed. The sprinkling of the streets is accomplished between midnight and five a. m. In Paris the supply is in control of a corporation. Mr. Johnson was especial! v impressed with the way the streets are cleaned, to do which a great quantity of water is used, while at the plants everything is scrupulously clean. To detect waste the meter system is used. There is also a system in use for the purification of the water, by means of iron, which is dropped into the water to oxidise it and kill germs. At Cologne the water supply is obtained from wells, and is not filtered, as it is claimed that the water is filtered naturally in passing through the sand and gravel. There is no inspection of mains, the city depending on the water to rise to the surface in case of leaks. The plant is a municipal one. In Berlin the consumption of water is small, being only twenty wine gallons per capita daily. This is explained by the fact that digging down only a few feet into the gravel in any part of the city an abundance of water is found. Manufacturers and brewers use this water almost exclusively. There is no system of night inspection, the house meters being the only means used to detect leaks.