NEW YORK CITY.
To his approval of the gas and water bills for New York city Governor Higgins added a single memorandum, which he attached to his approval of that measure of the Stevens committee dealing with the right of the city to use its water supply to generate electricity, a bill which replaces in part a provision stricken from the mayor’s water bill, which was the subject of considerable discussion. On this the governor writes: “It is to be observed tnat this bill presents a wholly different proposition from the matter stricken out of the city water supply bill in the senate. This bill restricts to city purposes the use of the electric current developed, and provides that no additional water shall be used for said purpose than would otherwise be required by the city of New York. The city water supply bill, in its original form, provided for the sale or lease of power and electricity by the city to private consumers, and for the sale or lease of water when not needed for city purposes. These provisions had not the remotest relation to the solution of the lighting problem, and afforded no protection against the fighting companies. So far as I know, no opposition has manifested itself to the plan of utilising the water owend or acquired by the city for the purpose of generating an electrical current for a municipal lighting plant. The plan of developing power and selling same to private consumers was objectionable, as having no connection with the main purpose of the water supply bill, and as not being a proper city purpose within the meaning of the constitution (article 8, section 10), which provides that no city shall be allowed to incur any indebtedness except for city purposes and as unnecessary if not improper. The effect of the omission of the words objected to from the water supply bill and of the present act is sentimental rather than practical. It will be years before such power can be utilised, and, when it can be so utilised, according to the opinion of the may’or’s expert, John R. Freeman, one of the members of the Burr Herring-Freeman commission, named by Mayor McClellan to investigate and report on the subject of additional water supply for New York city, it will be “of no noteworthy account or utility toward any such large requirement as involved in municipal lighting.” “The power plants would be small (he says) and liable to long and severe interruptions. Doubtless, the city should not be deprived of the rights and opportunities, even though relatively insignificant, which may aid it to establish a municipal lighting plant. It is in my judgment extremely doubtful that the omission from the water supply bill of any reference to the development of power could be construed so as to deprive the city of the right to develop and use power for city purposes. If this bill serves no other purpose, it will dispel all doubts on the subject.”
CANADA vs. CHICAGO.
Canada professes a fear lest her water supply, in some manner known only to herself should be affected by the Chicago drainage canal. She is trying to induce the United States to veto the project for a regular water communications between the great lakes and the Mississippi. Not only will the Dominion oppose that project, but it will also seek to stop the operation of Chicago’s $30,000,000 drainage canal. That will raise a question not alone of the diversion of water from the great lakes, but also of the health of one of the great cities of the world. As shown by recent reports Chicago, after a fourteen years’ struggle against typhoid, induced by an impure water supply, has at last won the victory’ for health. The latest bulletin of the health department of that city states that in 1891 Chicago had the highest death rate from typhoid of all large cities of the world—17.38 per 10,000 of population. In 147 elapsed days of the present year its typhoid rate was Among the lowest, being only 1.21 per IO.OOO. or a reduction of ninetythree per cent from the rate of 1891. This reduction has been brought about almost wholly by the operation of the drainage canal. That a work of such magnitude and beneficent utility will lie permitted by the United States government to be undone, in order that an almost imperceptibly greater amount of water may find its way down the great lakes is not readily to be believed.