Recommend Meterage for Kingston
The Board of Water Commissioners of Kingston, N. Y., realizing that the time is near at hand when the water supply of the city must be conserved presents its views on the subject in its annual report as follows: For reasons well known to every citizen, it is not advisable to meter the general consumption while the supply is adequate and the citizens have due regard for the waste of water. But should the board find that it is necessary to pass a resolution recommending the introduction of meters, we believe the citizens will recognize it to he a business necessity proposed by business men, who clearly understand the merits of the position they take to economize the water supply for the benefit of the entire city, knowing as they do that the large percentage of water that passes the connections of a great many, if not the majority, of consumers, is not utilized for any necessary purpose but is permitted to run to waste. The prevailing system of flat rates for the use ot water is wrong and unbusinesslike, but inasmuch as practically every householder has the benefit of it no injustice is done. Further, in the bitter cold weather a great many of the mains are within the frost line and it is necessary to have the water running in order to prevent the pipes from freezing. To meter the entire city would cost approximately $80,000 and would require lowering the mains in addition. The board wishes to call the attention of the consumer to the fact that the quantity of water which passes through his water fittings, whether wasted or not, does not affect his annual water bill. It will be seen that the system of charge which permits an unlimited consumption to each householder in return for a limited and fixed payment is unjust to the entire community. In view of this physical defect in the original installation of the system, the board has not enforced the rules against allowing the water to run to waste in bitter cold weather, but has considered that it was necessary. Should the time ever come when the supply is not sufficient to meet the needs of the city, and it is necessary to meter all residences, it will also be necessary to lower the mains over the greater part of the city, at an expense too great to contemplate in this report. Our system was constructed for almost a definite population, and on the basis of an ample supply per head, which would suffice until the population contemplated in the design was reached, and it is becoming rapidly inefficient in consequence of the demands from a fulfillment of which there is no escape, and premature enlargement of the filter plant becomes a necessity. The absurdity of the popular phrase that water should be as free as air is manifest. A running supply of water is kept only by the continual outlay of capital. The people are taxed for this, but the unreasoning conviction remains, and people resent the curtailment of waste. Such a condition has confronted the board in the past year, and with due deliberation it has set about to enlarge the filter system so that the present consumption of water could be delivered pure.