SOMEBODY PAYS FOR FREE WATER.
The question of supplying free water, which is one of the vital water works administration questions that is coming all the time more and more prominently to the fore, has now come up in the city of Marinette., Wis., where Manager S. B. Brough, of the Marinette Water Company, recently appeared before the city council with a request that the company’s application to the state railroad commission that the free water users in Marinette be required to pay be approved. One of the aldermen, who remarked that this was an exceedingly big question, suggested that a special meeting be called to discuss nothing but water rates and that the company be represented at the meeting. Manager Brough’s explanation that the water company was losing money and that the council is asked to approve its request to the commission so that the company can get enough revenue to pay running expenses, illustrates very forcibly that whether the actual consumer pays for the water or receives it free, somebody has to pay for it. In this case it appears that it is the company that has to stand the cost, and the company’s request that regular rates be charged to schools, churches, parsonages and for public fountains and parks appears to be a just one. There would be a less general desire by the general public for free water to be furnished for municipal use or for the purposes mentioned by the Marinette Water Company if consumers were made to understand that one of three things must happen—all water must be paid for by the consumers thereof, the rates to those who do pay must be higher than otherwise necessary in order to meet the cost of the water furnished free or the water company or department must be operated at a loss of so much revenue.