NEW YORK’S WATER SUPPLY.
MR. JOSEPH S. WOOD of the board of education of Mount Vernon, N. Y., has expressed himself very strongly on the subject of the inadequacy of New York’s water supply. He shows by figures that in the course of a very few years the Croton water-shed will be unable to furnish this city with water enough for all its wants, and that the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx, and Brooklyn more particularly need more water at once. In favor of his proposition he quotes with approbation the report of the Merchants’ association which we noticed last week in these columns; he advocates immediate recourse to the Adirondacks as the “nearest adequate source of supply;” and adds that it will cost about $ 140,000,000 to build two aqueducts, each with a capacity of 250 000,000 gallons a day’, and the necessary reservoirs and works, to bring the water to the great Jerome Park reservoir. Since, however, the city of New York cannot afford to do this, he suggests that the State, foil owing the ex am pie oi Massachusetts,’should provide the water and build the aqueducts. He adds:
Let the State furnish this water, not only to New York, but to Mount Vernon, Yonkers, Tarrytown, Sing Sing, Peekskill, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie. Hudson, Albany, Troy, Glens Falls, Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Saratoga, and any other cities, towns, or villages on the line that want it. There would be no constitutional objection byway of debt limit or otherwise to this plan (Mr. Wood insists), nor could it be said that the State would be expending the money of the whole people for the benefit of a section, for, according to the New England plan, only those on the line of the aqueducts would pay a dollar for the running expenses on the interest on the bonded debt; and even the principal of this bonded debt would be paid by them, as they would annually pay into the sunkingfund enough to pay the entire bonded debt as it would become due. The State (he points out) already owns a large part of the watershed of the Adirondacks, and is making a great park and forest reservation of this entire region. The State of New “York (he claims) owes a duty to other cities in the Hudson valley as well as to New York, and is as much bound to provide or preserve for them a water supply. Another advantage of the plau is. that a large part of the water impounded in the Adirondacks would be used in the summer and fall to improve the navigation of the Hudson.
Another argument adduced by Mr. Wood in favor of his plan is that
the purity of the water could also be much more effectually maintained under the control of the State than under that of the city of New York, and the bonded debt of the city of New York and of the other cities on the line of the aqueducts would not be increased one cent by reason of this great Adirondack water supply, and hence no obstacle would be put in the way of other necessary improvements.
Mr. Wood, in his enthusiastic admiration of his own plan, seems to forget one thing—namely, that the conditions in New York State are very different from those that obtained in Massachusetts when the Metropolitan system was inaugurated in that State. Massachusetts contains within its limits no single city that in point of size or political influence can compare with New York, which, in addition to its enormous population,is,besides,the metropolis of the Western world, and, as such, is by no means disposed to go to Albany and beg from the State in forma pauperis that which she feels perfectly able to buy for herself. She has no intention of being dependent upon the votes of the rural population of the State for any benefits which she can secure for herself by her own exertions, nor has she any idea whatever of permitting up-State legislators to interfere with that basic principle of home rule which bus been secured to her by the charter of Greater New New York. Whatever watershed she may determine upon as fittest for her purpose she will buy for herself, or,failing the needful funds, will make seme other arrangement for her own good without invoking the aid of the State to help her out. When once she begins to depart from that principle, she may as well surrender her charter and,become the mere appanage of whatever political party owns the State. Were there no other objections to Mr. Wood’s proposed plan, that of itself would block the way, at least for the present, and probably far into the future.