WATER WASTE IN LARGE CITIES.

WATER WASTE IN LARGE CITIES.

With the question of waste of water confronting so many municipalities, the situation in two of this country’s large cities, Chicago and Philadelphia, is of notable interest to water works men. In the first named city Chief Carleton E. Davis, of the Bureau of Water, figured that during a recent cold spell enough water was wasted in Philadelphia to supply a first class American city and summed up the situation by saying: “The Bureau is doing its utmost. But perhaps its worst enemies are neglect and waste. These arc two things which only the universal use of water meters, perhaps, will ever check.” During the zero weather the daily water consumption for several days reached 337,000,000 gallons and in this connection it is important and interesting that at the highest recorded point during the torrid weather of August, 1916, the consumption was 338,000,000 gallons. The wastage was caused in large measure by leaving hydrants and spigots open to prevent freezing. The result was that those needing water for industrial and household operations were in want. Chief Davis added: “During the last cold snap, the wastage ran somewhere between 20,000,000 and 50,000,000 gallons daily. And at this time, when conditions were at their worst, a defective valve, discovered only after several days’ search, cut off water from several important districts. The result is known to the people of Philadelphia. The figures are here to speak for themselves. Incredible as it may seem, the people wasted the actual water supply of a first-class American city. It is true that not all of the wastage was due to the leaving open of stopcocks and the like; there were thousands of breaks in water pipes when they froze up in cellars and under pavements. But if we were to include the wastage due to this source, the figures would appall you.” In Chicago, City Engineer John Ericson estimated that during two weeks recently more water was pumped per day at that city’s pumping stations than at any time during the hottest weather of last summer and came within 40.000,000 gallons per day of maximum capacity of the pumps. The consumption per day during one week was 760,000,000 gallons, whereas the highest figure reached last summer was 750,000,000 gallons and “the reason is that nearly everyone let the water run to keep pipes from freezing” and he concluded : “Only six per cent, of the taps in Chicago are metered. There the whole fault lies.” The opinions expressed by Messrs. Davis and Ericson are identical in principle, both recognizing the meter as the one available remedy.

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