TO STORE WATER IN NEW YORK STATE
Bill to be Presented to the Legislature For That Purpose.
The water supply commission of New York State, according to a dispatch from Albany, will present to the legislature a plan of water-storage in the Adirondacks and at various other points in the State. The recommendations by the commission, if followed out, will entail an expenditure by the State of a very large sum of money. In a general way the commission recommends the impounding of streams in very large reservoirs at points where the maximum amount of power can be obtained. These dams, some of them of enormous extent, arc to he erected by the State, and the waterpower is to be rented to private concerns—a plan which, it is claimed, will net the State a handsome profit on the investment. Engineers of high standing have been employed by the commission for some time in perfecting these plans, which have been carefully gone over, and the cost of each dam has been figured out. The commission has also secured a list of every manufacturing plant using over 10-horsepower, together with its location, and is prepared to show that a large percentage of these are so situated as to be able to use the power now running to waste in the streams. In addition, the impounding of the water will prevent disastrous floods in the spring and low water during the summer. Senator Emerson, of Warren county, who is interested in paper and pulp mills in the Adirondacks, claims that the plans of the commission, so far as known, meet with the approval of the paper men and lumber companies operating in the Adirondacks. It is believed that Governor Hughes will heartily approve the plans, as he has always advocated a proper conservation of the waterpowers of the State in all of his messages, and the scheme of the rental of waterpower to private companies received his emphatic indorsement when he vetoed a bill granting water-rights to a corporation, and insisted on the substitution of a measure which required the cornoration to pay a rental to the State. The whole plan, which is said to be one of the most important economic measures proposed in many years, has been worked out to the smallest detail.
Investigations by engineers have been carried on for many months, and surveys of two favorable sites for the erection of reservoirs for power-development under State authority have been made. One of these sites is at Conklingville, about S miles from the confluence, at Hadley, 65 miles from its source, of the Sacandaga river—after the Mohawk, the largest tributary of the Hudson—and the Hudson river. It rises in the Adirondacks, and has a drainagearea, in part consisting of dense forests, of 1.050.59 m., the lower part being swampy and poor. At that point an earthwork dam. with a masonry core, could be safely built, which would create a storage reservoir of 26,000,000,000 cu. ft. capacity, and would flood the valley for a distance of 30 miles along the river, submerging several villages. The removal of all timber and underbrush would insure clean sand or rock shores from the low to the high water line of the reservoir. The storage would regulate the flow of the Hudson, raising it from a present minimum of 6,500 cu. ft. per second to one of 6,500 cu. ft. per second at Mechanicsville. Benefit would result to the thirteen waterpower sites between Troy and Corinth, which have an aggregate fall of 380 ft.; more than doubling the power in time of drought, and, in the six driest months, adding an average aggregate of 80,000-horsepower over and above that now developed at these thirteen plants. This aggregate would exceed that developed at Holyoke, Lowell and Lawrence, Mass., ail taken together, at a cost of $4,550,000. Or at Hadley. 3 miles below the proposed dam, an available head of 200 ft. could be secured and a powerhouse installed, which would furnish from 25,000 to 30,000 continuous horsepower—equivalent to 60,000-horsepower during ordinary working hours, and distributable among customers within a radius of 50 miles, or used to develop a new industrial city near the powerhouse. Even with the fall thus completely utilised at the reservoir, the minimum discharge of the Sacandaga river would be increased from 130 cu. ft. per second to 1,700 cu. ft. per second, which would still greatly benefit existing plants on the Hudson—adding, for example, 10,000horsepower at Spiers Falls, one of the thirteen Hudson power sites which have been mentioned.
Another storage-reservoir site is contemplated on the Genesee river, which would result not only in a great power-development, but would mitigate to a marked extent, perhaps, prevent altogether the disastrous floods from which the river valley and the city of Rochester have suffered in the past. Near Portageville a dam could be constructed that would impound the water for a length of 15 miles and an average width of 1 mile, with a capacity of 10,000,000,000 cu. ft., and able to generate 30,000 continuous horsepower. Even if the full fall were utilised at the reservoir, the increase of the minimum river-flow would still add greatly to the capacity of existing power plants. On the lower Genesee an aggregate of 13,000 continuous horsepower would be added in this way. In case the reservoir were built for storage and river regulation alone, there would be added 20,000 continuous horsepower during the six driest months of the year at Rochester power plants. The cost of this stage of development would be, approximately, $5,000,000, while for complete works, including a powerhouse, with all appurtenances at the dam site, an additional $4,000,000 would be necessary.
Another power-possibility is to be found on the Raquette river in the northern Adirondacks. Along the Delaware river, also, is a third. Here, owing to deforestation and to the conformation of the watershed, peculiarly disastrous floods have inflicted great damage on riparian property and railroads. A fourth is in the Schroon river, one of the largest tributaries of the Hudson, where, it is believed, a storage reservoir can be constructed with very important results at comparatively small cost. Similar examination has also been made of the profile of the Black river, of the East and West Canada creeks and of the Oswego river. In the case of some sites, the plans would be more effectively worked out by securing (as will be attempted, and it is believed with success) the co-operation of the States of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.