WATER WASTE IN PHILADELPHIA AND THE REMEDY.
A Philadelphia, Pa., newspaper in the course of an article on the waste of water in that city stated that Chief Carleton E. Davis, of the Bureau of Water, expressed the belief that the city will never be permanently free from danger of water shortage until the universal use of meters becomes compulsory and the city administration, it is stated, is contemplating two moves to remedy conditions. One is a campaign for what will be ultimately a universal meter system in order that the supply may be controlled, and consumers of water may be held personally and financially responsible for the amounts used. The second part of the plan will be an effort to have the needs of the Water Bureau given the first consideration in the next loan bill. The bureau needs $4,500,000 for new water works, as the facilities are inadequate, according to Chief Davis. Chief Davis recently called attention to the following conditions existing in Philadelphia: A big office building, recently erected, is served by a four-inch opening, connected with a private pumping station in the basement. This building consumes so much water that the next-door neighbor, a man who runs a fourstory hotel, faced two alternatives: He could either shut up his hotel because he could get no water or install a private pumping station himself. Pie chose the latter course. The point here is that the office building would not use so much water if it were compelled to pay the same price for it that other users of water should pay; in other words, if it were charged for water by the amount used rather than by a fixed tax upon the number of spigots in use in the building. In another part of the city an industrial plant pays for the enormous quantities of water is consumes, not by the meter system, but by the system of fixed charges upon spigots. In 1914 the officials paid $30,000 lor their water. Tf meters were installed, they would pay at least 25 per cent, more, and possibly the amount they now pay would be doubled, according to Chief Davis. Meanwhile, residents of the city getting their water supply from the same source sometimes find it difficult to draw water on the third or fourth floor. Another industrial establishment uses hundreds of thousands of gallons of water, supplied by big openings in the mains connecting with private pumping stations, while several squares away is an orphanage building which frequently cannot get as much water as it needs. During the month of August Philadelphia used close to 328,000,000 gallons of water daily. In 1915 fully 320,000,000 gallons was the highest daily use, although the average was much lower. In 1914 a total of 310,000,000 gallons was the high point of daily consumption. The demands have increased greatly. But the facilities have remained the same. The sum of $500,000 is included in the loan about to be floated for additional water supply facilities. Chief Davis expects to use this money for the erection of one pump where it will give the greatest returns, and he hopes that it will add 2,000,000 gallons a day to the supply. Even should this pump be ready for operation by next summer, it will be “only a drop in the bucket,” if the present business boom continues. The Fire Underwriters have made detailed recommendations for the correction of the situation in South Philadelphia. Chief Davis is in accord with these recommendations. They are for the construction of an independent main from the Lardner’s Point pumping station to South Philadelphia, so that the water supply south of Market street can he independent of the demands made north of that thoroughfare.