The Long Island Water Supply.
At a meeting of the Engineers’ Club, in Brooklyn, Walter E. Spear, chief engineer of the water department, read an interesting paper on the situation of the Long Island water supply.
Mr. Spear advocated a careful conservation of the supply until such time as the Long Island and Catskill facilities are developed to that point at which they will furnish enough water for all needs for many years to come. The Catskill works will not be ready for six or eight years and even if the city finally gets into Suffolk county, by winning the controversy over that proposition now pending, it will be at least two years before water can be derived from that source. In the meantime Brooklyn must depend on the sources of water supply now available, and great care will have to he exercised ip order to prevent an overdraft on the safe yield of the I.ong Island system. The statements which have been freely made about a “great subterranean source of supply,” and which intimated that the water comes from “somewhere in the bowels of the earth.” were ridiculed by Mr. Spear. He pointed out that the rainfalls furnished all the water now stored in the sands of I.ong Island and that all the water comes from overhead and is stored in the the vast natural reservoir which is tapped to supply Brooklyn. “The investigations made in the last six years,” he said, “show the utter falsity of the idea that tile Long Island waters have their origin otherwise than in the rains that fall on the surface of the island: the suggestion of a flow from Connecticut or New Jersey to I.ong Island is absurd. Unless some extraordinary measures are taken to prevent waste: unless such legislation is secured as will permit all the water consumed to be thoroughly metered, there is no hope of keeping the increase in consumption down to the increase in population. Under conditions of normal rainfall and with adequate storage, the sources of supply now available if comnletely developed, will safelv furnish a supply of good water sufficient for the needs of Brooklyn until 1913; and by overdrawing these sources they will, perhaps, provide enough water, though of inferior quality, to prevent a shortage until or even 1918. If tile next few years, however. should he a period of deficient rainfall, tile complete development of the available watersheds will not provide sufficient water to meet even the present needs of Brooklyn without an overdraft on the source of supply and a serious deterioration in the quality of the water delivered. Under such conditions it will be impossible to prevent a shortage in the sup plv after 1913 even if an inferior quality of water is provided If it is possible in the near future to so reduce the waste of water in Brooklvn as to keen the consumption down to an estimated minimum, the safe vield of all sources now available will be sufficient for the of Brooklyn until KH8 if a normal rainfall occurs on the watershed durinc the next ebdit years. Should a long period of low rainfall he experienced, a large overdraft of the watershed would provide only enough to meet the estimated minimum consumption until 1014. Brooklyn may be able to get along comfortably until 1912, and with some measure of good fortune until 1916—but after 1916, unless all conditions are most favorable, a serious shortage may be expected if only the present sources of supply are then available. If the Titus stations fail to yield 10,000,000 gallons per day, the shortage in supply will come, perhaps, a year earlier.”