WATER FOR NEW YORK CITY.
The new local water commission for the future addition to the water supply of New York city is now located in the Barclay building, Broadway, Manhattan. It was admitted by Corporation Counsel Delany the other day at Trenton, N. J., that the $161,000,000 system cannot be completed for fifteen years, which means that, when completed, it will last for five years thereafter, and in 1925 will have to be extended again. This is borne out by other competent testimony. The committee of the board of Trade and Transportation, which, taking what it considers a conservative basis of daily individual consumption—155 gallons, has concluded that, at the current rate of city growth, the population will in 1925, be about 6,760.000, and that that number of persons will use every day 1,047,000,000 gallons of water. It is pointed out that the Croton, Byram and Bronx basins now in use, taken with the new Croton dam storage, will not yield more than 350,000,000 gallons. Adding 200,000,000 for local sources, which can be developed in Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond, and allowing 500,000,000 for the yield of the Catskill region, the total available supply in 1925 will be only 1,050,000,000 gallons daily—a little more than the amount provided by the Catskill supply. According to the new local board of water supply, it is undesirable to make provision for more than twenty years ahead, because of the inevitable changes in city life in modes of transit, facilities for doing business, improved engineering, and the like. I hercfore, to provide for a future of indeterminate length is absurd. One of the commissioners ventures to prophesy that New York city will never have a larger population than from 10,000,000 to 12,000,000. lie states his belief that the borough of Manhattan has nearly “ceased to grow in population. Business quarters will increase; but residence quarters will more and more be building up in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn and Richmond. All the new growth in the Bronx will be taken care of early in the matter of water—it is on the main line. To get the pipes to Staten Island may take fifteen years.” I11 five years’ time he insists that the supply from the proposed fiftyfour out of the eventual 118 miles or so of the Catskill aqueduct will be in use, and will then come down as far as the Croton pipes and make connections therewith. “Afterwards will be extended the system, down and up. Ashokan reservoir, covering more than 10,000 acres in Esopus county, will be followed by the construction of a reservoir in Rondout county, with an area of 1.080 acres, and that by one in Schoharie county of 700 acres, and that by four in Catskill county, with an added area of about 2,200 acres. From the northernmost Catskill reservoir to the Staten Island reservoir will require a cement underground and under water aqueduct of about 118 miles length.’’ Peter F. Schofield, of the New York city Board of Trade’s water commission— an opponent of the Catskill project, says that for $150,000,000, using steel pipes, “the water of lake Erie could be conducted to New York, and New York would have a sufficient supply forever, instead of for five years after the pipes are laid.” Others oppose the Catskill system, on account of its costliness, the certainty of much delay in its construction, and the infinite opportunities of graft afforded by it—to say nothing of the possibilities of the Dutchess and Suffolk counties’ restrictions being removed by legislation or otherwise, and the additional opportunities afforded by the Housatonic and Ten Mile rivers by arrangement with Connecticut. In the last case, there could be derived every day from Dutchess county, 150,000,000 gallons; from Ten Mile river and East Branch, 20,000,000 gallons; from the Housatonic 400,000.000 gallons—a total of 750,1×10.000 gallons, at a total expense (John R. Freeman, C. E., being quoted as the authority) of only $47,000,000. To this statement the board of water supply answers that steel pipes could not be ttsed. “It would take pipes as great in diameter as an ordinary room is high. The expense would be enormous.” Of the Dutchess county and Housatonic river sources the commission has decided; “The Housatonic is ruled out, because of its location in the State of Connecticut and the delays that negotiations for its diversion, if found practicable, would entail. Ten Mile river, a tributary of the Housatonic, flowing into Connecticut, is also ruled out by the uncertainty of the law governing the diversion of interstate waters. The watersheds adjoining the Croton on the north, are ruled out by the prohibitions of the legislature in 1903-04.” These three projects, then, with the cost of each, are suggested as follows: Mayor McClellan’s Catskill aqueduct, sufficient till 1925, $161,000,000; lake Erie aqueduct, sufficient for all time, $150,000,000; development of nearby watersheds and saving of wastage, sufficient till 1916, $47,000,000. The real point still at issue, however, seems to be whether to provide simply for twenty years or for longer.