THE WILFUL AND CULPABLE WASTE OF WATER.
ONE large source of water waste in this city is caused by the carelessness of the men in the streetcleaning department, who frequently turn on the water, merely to save the trouble of sweeping, especially where a block is paved with asphalt. The other day one of these laborers opened the hydrant fn front of Police headquartere ou Mulberry street, and for about fifteen minutes he allowed the water to run, overflowing the gutters and wetting pedestrians; then he tried to turn it off and found that his wrench would not work. This occurred at 10:20 a. m., and it was not until 11 o’clock that one of Water Commissioner Dalton’s men appeared, and, after succeeding in partly shutting off the water, stopped the flow by inserting a wooden plug in the hydrant. This hydrant, it should be added, like many others downtown, had been out of order for two years or more, but no effort had been made to repair it or replace it with anew one. The same “wasteful and ridiculous excess” may he witnessed every day in any part of the city. The number of chronically leaking hydrants is on the increase, and, what is worse, they are allowed to go on leaking for days, even weeks together, without let or hindrance on the part of the police, and apparently without supervision on that of the water department. In this connection it: may he remarked that London magistrates fully recognize the propriety of strengthening the hands of the local water companies in their endeavors to put down wilful waste of water. This waste is particularly conspicuous in the case of garden watering by hose, which has become so extensive that it has been found absolutely necessary to check the practice. An enormous quantity of water is used—or rather misused—by persons who have gardens, and just at a critical time of the year; and, if the proceedings egainst the wasters do not put a stop to the practice, it may be that the companies will lie driven to exercise their right of cutting off. It is not, perhaps, generally known that a half-inch garden hose will discharge in an hour more than a ton weight of water. Putin another way: In half an hour a half-inch pipe would run away a quantity of water sufficient to supply a household for a day The magistrate remarked that the fines inflicted on such offenders last year had been merely nominal, and as each case before him on this occasion was that of someone who had used water for other than domestic purposes, it was clear that the defendants had not taken warning. He, therefore, fined them $4, with $1.75 costs—the full penalty being $8 and costs. The offence was all the more inexcusable in these cases, as none of the water wasters could plead ignorance as to the law, since on each account rendered by the company is printed a notice in red ink cautioning consumers that, if they require water for garden purposes, they must have it by meter, and at the back of the note is a list of purposes which are not regarded as domestic purposes, among which is included the use of water for gardens. A similar custom and regulation in this and other cities and towns, an equal amount of diligent supervision on the side of the water department, and the same impartial meting out of punishment on the part of the magistrates, would doubtless go a long way towards putting down the wilful misuse of water privileges. The compulsory adoption of meterage, however, is the safest and most effective plan.