The Long Island Water Supply Company.
THIS week’s issue contains a map of the watershed of the Long Island Water Supply Company, and the report of the engineers employed by William Zeigler in the justly “celebrated case’’ of the intended purchase of its plant and property located in the late town of New Lots, now the Twentysixth ward of the city of Brooklyn.
Mr. Zeigler brought suit to restrain the Mayor, Auditor and Comptroller of the city of Brooklyn from effecting the purchase by injunction proceedings, on the ground that the price was excessive, namely, $1,500,000. The cost of the plant did not exceed $250,000 ; the difference was claimed to be the value of the franchise. The merits of the case were argued and the injunction made permanent.
There are some points in this case yet undetermined. One is the right of the city to lay its water mains in the Twenty-sixth ward ; and, again, where is the Long Island Water Supply Company to obtain the water to supply an ever-increasing demand for water in a rapidly increasing population district, if in the event of a trial it should be determined that the right claimed by the Long Island Water Supply Company is valid and lawful ? It is not the province of this paper to give opinions upon legal questions. From an engineering standpoint, however, it is very evident that the information furnished is conclusive evidence that whatever rights the Long Island Water Supply Company may claim as to franchises, privileges, etc., it certainly has a well defined watershed of very small area from which to draw a million gallons daily of water, and which is about all that can safely be depended upon.
The Long Island Water Supply Company cannot well go into new territory except at great expense, and in the nature of things far beyond the watershed which now supplies the city of Brooklyn. This phase of the question involves an expenditure of vast sums of money quite beyond the dream of any stockholder of the Long Island Water Supply Company. Viewing the subject from a righteous standpoint of observation, it would seem, in view of the trouble this question has occasioned to the people of the city of Brooklyn, and particularly the inhabitants of the Twenty-sixth ward, that some steps should be taken by the city authorities to ascertain as promptly as possible what rights the city has in the matter. It would do no harm for the Mayor of Brooklyn to order the commissioner of city works to lay a water main in the Twentysixth ward, and ask the corporation counsel to test the claim of the Long Island Water Supply Company, namely, to the exclusive right to lay water mains in the Twenty-sixth ward. In justice to the city of Brooklyn and the inhabitants of the Twentysixth ward this question should be settled without further delay.