Meters Recommended to Texan Mayors.
The Mayors’ association of Texas was recently addressed by Engineer Maxes, who spoke concerning the administration of municipally-owned waterworks systems. Some of the pertinent portions of the address were as follows:
“The municipally owned system should be administered in such a way that each water consumer should be made to feel that he is a shareholder in the enterprise and has a personal pride and responsibility in the success of the system. The administration is of the first importance, as it matters not how good and carefully the physical property has been developed, its ultimate success is dependent upon the proper administration. I, therefore, feel justified in calling to your attention some imperative economies which should be inaugurated in every system and religously lived up
“First In the powerhouse a system of hourly and daily records should be kept on specially prepared forms, so that each item of cost entering into the production of 1,000 gal, of water could be reliably ascertained and tabulated. These records should be carefully studied, as they will locate negligence, extravagance rod bad management and suggest a method of curing them. To this powerhouse expense should be added deterioration, cost of street services, administration charges and all other expense of every nature, and upon this cost price a selling rate should be predicated.
‘Second. In the main near the powerhouse should be installed a self-registering meter that would accurately measure all the water pumped every 24 hours. This serves the purpose of checking up the powerhouse records, as well as giving a comparison between the meter register and the pump displacement, and the difference will call attention to the waste and needed repairs in the powerhouse.
“As a matter of fairness to all users, every service of every nature whatsoever should be metered and the meter readings, compared with that of the self-registering meter, will show how well the product is looked after and whether the system is leaking or not.
“When I say every service should be metered, I mean to include all the water taps without exception, whether it is for public buildings or free service: even the flush tanks in the sewer system should be metered, in order to achieve the best results. This gives a check on the entire output and its disposition. As an instance in point, recently a New England city metered all of its services as above suggested. After the meter service had been in operation several months, the carefully kept records detected the fact that the city was wasting 42 per cent, of its own water supply through its own services. This resulted in repairing all leaks and a reduction of meter rates, with an added supply of water for increased consumption. In other words, this made the plant a success, where it had been a failure.
“Where cities have been on the flat rate, the changes to the meter system should be made advisedly and should begin with the city metering all of its services first, and then making all other users follow its example.
“The city should own the meters and keep them in repair, without calling on the user for rent or other expense.
“There is no reason why meters should hot be a part of the system and treated on the same basis that the grocer furnishes scales and keeps them in repair to regulate the sale of certain classes of groceries.
“Another factor upon which the success of the plant is dependent is that of first supplying the small users at a fair and equitable rate, rather than attempt to supply heavy consumers, such as railroads, at a rate that is actually below the cost of production. I know of more than one instance in which railroads are getting considerably more than half of the water supply at a rate that is less than the cost of production, while small consumers, who need the water as much or more than the railroads, have no connections whatever. This is manifestly unfair and creates a grievance that is difficult to overcome.”