MAYOR LOW ON THE NEW YORK WATER SUPPLY.
In his message to the board of aldermen of New York, Mayor Low places the problem of the city’s future water supply as next only to the need of more school accommodation, which he considers as of the first importance. In an introductory paragraph he thinks that something should be done in the direction of stopping waste, but expresses an opinion that the stoppage of domestic waste by the universal installation of meters is something to which no American city is likely to come until forced to it by circumstances. The problem of a permanent increase of water supply cannot be safely neglected now.
Croton dam completed will provide for the storage of water on the Croton watershed upon a scale adequate to supply the present needs of Manhattan and the Bronx for an estimated period of four months without regard to rainfall. The dam was originally designed to be built partly of stone and partly of an embankment shielding a comparatively thin core-wall. The present chief engineer of the aqueduct commission has taken the ground that this dam should have been designed originally to be all stone, and that even now it is wise to make this change of construction, althouga such a course will involve two years of delay and an increase in cost of about $400,000. In this contention the chief engineer is sustained by a commission of experts, and the aqueduct board has deferred action until the mayor and comptroler can have an opportunity to acquaint themselves thoroughly with the matter.
“The water supply of Brooklyn, on the other hand, (the mavor states), is already inadequate for its needs, if tested by the rate of actual consumption in the bor oughs of Manhattan and the Bronx. During the last two or three summers Brooklyn has several times been on the verge of a water famine. The need of an increased water supply for Brooklyn, therefore, is both immediate and urgent. The natural way in which to meet the present need is to carry the present Brooklyn system farther down Long Island. Plans for such an extension were matured, when the Hon. Alfred T. White was commissioner of city works of Brooklyn. These plans could readily be carried out at once, except for the fact that the people of Suffolk county are unwilling to permit even the waste water of the county to be used by the city. This objection expressed itself several years ago by securing the passage of a law, in 1806, the object of which is to prevent the extension of Brooklyn’s waterworks into Suffolk county. It is evident from a conference, recently held in the mayor’s office, with the legislative representatives of Suffolk and Nassau counties that public opinion in Suffolk still demands the etention of this law. In the presence of the immediate and urgent character of Brooklyn’s need, I think it has become the duty of the city to ask for the repeal of this law, so that Brooklyn’s immediate and pressing need can be met; and an act intended to repeal this socalled Burr law has accordingly been introduced into the legislature at my request.”
As the city is willing to be restricted as to the per centage of the average annual rainfall which it might use, Mr. Low thinks that it is unreasonable for the State to allow a great community to go without water it needs, when the water it wants to use would otherwise be wasted. He adds upon this subject of Suffolk county water. “ The extension of the Brooklyn aqueduct system, moreover, is equally in the interest of Nassau county, for it is evident that if Brooklyn’s needs cannot be met by enlarging the area of country from which it draws its supply, it must continue to draw, with increasing hardship, upon the area which constitutes its present watershed. It would be singularly unjust for the State to deprive the city, on the one hand, of the privilege of taking surplus water from Suffolk county, and, on the othet hand, to expose the city to suits for damages because it takes too much water from Nassau county. The actual hardship of this situation would be great enough if Brooklyn’s population remained at a standstill, but as the population of Brooklyn is growing with great rapidity, every element of hardship involved in this dilemma is constantly intensified.”
The mayor asserts, however, that this proposed Suffolk county extension would not permanently solve the water supply problem for Brooklyn and Queens, because the withdrawal of only 100,000,000 gallons per diem would be permitted and the cost of a Long Island aqueduct would be greatly enhanced on account of its having to be constructed on or near the tide level to catch the drainage from the largest area, and on account of the necessity of a cross-section in the conduit, as well as the costliness of maintaining the system because the water would have to be lifted at the end of each ten-mile section. He thinks that an inquiry ought to be made to determine how the present water supply of Manhattan and the Bronx can be connected with the Long Island system, so that the deficiencies of one, whether temporary or permanent, may be made good from the other.