THE WANAQUE DEVELOPMENT.
A case having been brought in the Supreme Court on a writ of certiorari by the Society for Establishing Useful Industries relative to the Wanaque watershed development project, seeking to prevent the taking of Wanaque water to supply the city of Newark and other municipalities in New Jersey, has occasioned some discussion in the territory affected as to the scope and powers of the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission and the State Board of Conservation and Development, which approved of the District Board’s application for permission ta take the water. The society asks the court to determine the merit of the application on the ground that “the State Board of Conservation and Development, in granting its consent for the development to the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission, has no power to impose conditions on this grant.” In reviewing editorially the situation, a Newark newspaper declares that City Counsel Frazer contends that the State Board has such power under the law of 1907, the power being given to the State Water Supply Commission, which has been succeeded by the State Board of Conservation and Development, the latter having taken over all the former’s powers and duties in addition to those specified by the law of 1916, and that he further maintains that the reasonableness of the conditions is the only question on which there can be controversy. The newspaper points out that when the law of 1916 was passed, creating the Board of Conservation and Development and authorizing the creation of the district water supply boards, it was anticipated that opposition to the Wanaque development would come from private corporations claiming to have prior rights to use water of the Passaic watershed, and that to meet such a contingency the law was amended, providing for condemnation proceedings, so that if these corporations have standing in court they may be compensated for the taking of any rights that must be taken to carry out the state policy of conservation and distribution of potable waters for the public benefit. The views of the court, it is stated, will not be known before the November term, and the newspaper states that meanwhile the work of development under the contract with Newark will proceed unless other legal proceedings are instituted.