New York Water Situation.
Mayor Gaynor does not feel apprehensive of a water famine. He says that while there is. of course, a serious shortage of in the supply, there was sufficient in reserve to care for the regular needs of Manhattan and the Bronx for 200 days in case there was no rain in all that time, ample enough to raise the gauge in the watersheds, a contingency he did not think probable. Extra precautions to conserve the supply on hand are being taken at once by the Water Department. The Board of Aldermen last week authorized an issue of revenue bonds to put $100,000 at the disposal of Water Commissioner Thompson for the payment of 200 additional inspectors, who are to be employed in a houseto-house canvass to stop waste of water. As soon as the action of the aldermen had been confirmed by the Board of Estimate, Mr. Thompson began putting at work men who are readily available from the civil service lists. Their pay will be about $90 a month, and it is proposed to keep them at work four months. In that time, Mr. Thompson estimates, they will be able to inspect and reinspect practically all the building: in Manhattan and the Bronx, the boroughs affected by the present shortage in the water supply. These men will reinforce the regular men who have been visiting tenements and apartment houses and warning the landlords that leaky fixtures must he repaired. The inspectors will not stop with warnings, but will enter each apartment and make their own observations. The Street Cleaning Department has begun to feel the effects of Mr. Thompson’s policy of conservation. Commissioner Edwards has been trying for two years to get enough water to put into operation lvs plan for flushing the streets. Hellas been held off by the Water Department. Now he has been cut down even on the water used by sprinkling carts Provision was made in the budget for 73 sprinkling carts, but Commissioner Thompson is now permitting him to use only 21, and the last permit issued for them was for only four days. Besides this, all the private sprinkling carts, such as those used by the Fifth Avenue Association, have been cut off from supply. The Street Cleaning Department is now cut down to 25,000 gallons a day, as against 1,500,000 that would be needed for flushing. Mr. Edwards has reduced his demand for this purpose to 500,O00 gallons, but. of course, has no chance of getting it now. In order to protect himself from public condemnation as the flying dust and dirt increase he has written to the Mayor, asking if it is not possible to get more water, and if not. that the Mayor will state this fact publicly. In the meantime Mr. Edwards has been at work on a plan to use river water for part of the street flushing he wants to undertake. He has ordered a machine. which will be ready for experimenting in two or three days, which is expected to make this possible. Mayor Gaynor said that in an emergency water might he piped from Brooklyn under the river or over the bridge. Which bridge he prefers for the aerial pipe line he did not indicate. The danger of a water famine, he said, while ser ous, was not as immediate as some seemed to think, as, in his opinion, there was enough water on hand to supply the city, without rain, if reasonable care was exercised, for 200 days. If meters were installed, the Mayor said, a very large percentage of the population would go dirty. A meter would be an invitation to be filthy and save money. Men in poor circumstances would be sorely tempted to deny their children even the comfort of good baths at reasonable intervals. Commissioner Thompson is not favorably inclined toward any of the plans that have been advanced for an emergency water supply from Brooklyn, hut rather to depend on restriction in the use of water. “In regard to taking additional water from the Ten Mile river,” said he, “it could not be done this year, as in all nrobahihty if the Croton river is running dry the Ten Mile river would be in the same condition by the time we could connect up. In the next place, the law would not allow us to divert this water from the State of Connecticut. It would probably be held up in the courts. In addition, the New York State law forbids us from taking any water from Dutchess or Putnam County. It would take eight months, assuming that the city now held title to the land and the department had carte blanche, to carry out the necessary contracting work.”