SELF-CONSTITUTED COMMITTEES TO HELP OUT IN THE WATER SUPPLY QUESTION.
THE press of New York city is evidently under no obligation to the Ramapo Water corporation, nor is the Ramapo Water company under any obligation to the press. This corporation has a charter,which gives it the right to supply with water any city within the lines of its operations; it has a perfect right to do business, and a further right to offer to do it with New York city or any other city. This city is now purchasing daily from 25,000,000 to 30,000.000 gallons of water from several private water companies situate in as many of its boroughs at prices varying from $60 to $195 per million gallons. .The press of New York condemns theidea of making contracts with private corporations —and this, on the score of the doctrine of public ownership. This question we decline to discuss; it is no part of our duty to the public. The custodians of the public interest, are able to meet and solve the problem. There are, however, a few facts connected with the problem of new sources of water supply that demand that the light of truth should be permitted to shine upon them, and to arrive at this, a sense ofjustice and fair play and a desire to get at the truth without prejudice, without misleading, and without prevarication should prevail. A prominent paper, the New York Tribune, recently published a letter written by an official of an insurance company, whieh contained misleading and incorrect statements concerning thecapacity of the Croton watershed,the cost of improvements thereon and the daily consumption of water in thi« city. The opportunity was given to that paper to correct the statementsit made by means of this letter; but this it refused to do. Consequently, it stands us the opponent of permitting the true statement to be made, lest thereby it should favor the Ramapo scheu e. The Merchants’ association, of this city, has organized a committee to carry out a plan set forth in a pamphlet published and circulated throughout the community—the object being to investigate the need of more water, and to find out where it may be obtained, and at what cost. The propriety or the impropriety of this step lias yet to tw estimated; no onedoubts the character of the subcommittee. It may, however, occur to some minds that the department of water supply, George W. Birdsall, chief engineer, and Alfonzo Fteley, chief engineer of the Croton aqueduct commission, are available sources of information for the guidance and direction of this committee. These gentlemen are in possession of all of the information that is essential and requisite for the guidance of the subcommittee referred to. Every one familiar with New York city’s water supply knows that more water than the Croton shed can afford is needed, and, further, that, in considering new sources of supply, the new shed must be of sufficient elevation tft provide an adequate pressure to deliver the water furnished to the top of buildings of ordinary height without the aid of pumping machinery under private or municipal control, and that it must also be in a region remote from polluting and contaminating influences. The project of substituting auxiliary sources of water supply that must be filtered in the near future will not bear investigation. Very soon the question of filtration will force itself upon the consideration of the proper authorities, who are now in control of the Croton shed. Wherefore, all things being considered, if the Ramapo corporation possesses the watershed that will furnish a new source of water supply to the city of New York, let that adequate supply be afforded in whatever way is for the best interests of the city of New York. __