R.W. Lawton Tells of Water Works in India
An interesting interview on conditions in India was given to FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING by Mr. R. W. Lawton, who was at the Richmond Convention. Mr. Lawton, whose headquarters at at Calcutta, India, has just arrived in this country from the Mesopotamia war front in Persia to take a short rest, and to investigate the possibilities of securing representation for American water works machinery and appliances in the Far East. He expects to remain in the United States for the next four months, during which time he will be located at Los Angeles, Cal. The past fifteen years he has spent traveling through Europe, Africa and Asia, representing the Jewell Export Filter Company and other concerns. Prior to leaving this country Mr. Lawton was connected with the American Water Works and Guarantee Company, the Allis-Chalmers Mfg. Co., and the New York Continental Jewell Filtration Co. Mr. Lawton has some interesting pictures of water works operations, among which is an elephant drawing 36-inch cast iron pipe weighing 5.000 pounds. He pulls the length of pipe with his teeth through the medium of a vine commonly known as a Ceylon-creeper which is attached to the pipe, and which he holds in his teeth. The elephant is also used for carrying stone and drawing heavy wagons, the charges for services at $3.20 per day including the driver. The conditions in India, Burmah and Ceylon are quite different from those of this country. Water works plants are usually constructed through the generosity of the Central Government, and in consequence it is necessary to restrict the capacity of each plant to the minimum. The government specifies, as a rule, that a maximum of fifteen gallons per head per day shall be allowed, and, as a result, excessive waste is unknown. This is not only due to the need for economy, but also to the lack of water in many sections of the country. The rainfall varies in some districts from ten inches per year to others having 800 inches per year. In sections where rainfall is low, evaporation is usually very excessive, often amounting to as much as one-quarter inch per day. As a result there are cases where it is occasionally necessary to shut down the water works completely by reason of having no water to pump until the rainy season begins again. The rivers from which most supplies must be taken are usually highly polluted. Such rivers are usually the receptacle for dead badies, and as a consequence purification is adopted to a very large extent. There are many filter plants of various kinds installed, the bulk of which are of the slow-sand bed type.