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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 18, no. 456: December 9, 1876

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Real Estate Record AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XVIII. NEW YOKK, SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9, 1876. No. 456 Published Weekly fry ^lit geal Estate %uaxti %%BQmixan, TERMS. ONE YEAR, in advance.. ..SIO.OO. Communications should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, Nos. 345 AND 347 Broadavay. THE WATER QUESTION. The recently tlu-eatened Avater famine tm-ns out to have been only a needless scare, Avhich the au¬ thorities aUoAved to run almost to the verge of panic. Nervous and apprehensive citizens, Avho Avere but recently contemplating a situation not uuUke that of the IsraeUtes in the Desert, are noAv gi-eeted Avith a moderate though Avelcome and sufficient addition to the Avater supply, for Avhich unspeakable boon they are devoutly grate¬ ful to Commissioner CampbeU, or to a higher poAver, and disposed to look upon him as a verita¬ ble Moses. Suffice it, for the present, to say that the supply has been gi-aduaUy increasing during the past fortnight, and already fiUs pipes avUIcU have been utterly dry and unserviceable during the previous thi-ee months. The assurance, furthermore, is extended to the pubUc, that it is unnecessary to look for any neAV or extraordi¬ nary som-ces of supply, as it is claimed that the Croton Basui, supplemented by proper mechanical appUances, is equal to the existmg needs of the city; aud, under an extension of these appUances, could be made to fm-nish three times tUe present volume. It is intimated also that, Avith a view to preventing the recurrence of such an emergency as Ave have just passed through, steam pumps shortly AviU be placed in position at the fountain-head, connected Avith a Uigh water service, from which the areas of highest elevation can hereafter be suppUed. It is also asserted that AA'ithin a tAvelve- month an additional storage reservoir avIU be completed and the consti-uction of another one begun, having such manmoth capacity as to guarantee immunity from the consequences of aU futm-e drouths or portentious water famines. These assurances avUI can-y a strong sense of re¬ Uef and comfort to the minds of cm- perturbed citizens, who so recently were forced to contem¬ plate an invasion of estabUshed sanitary condi¬ tions, an intrusion upon their habits of personal cleanliness, and an abridgement of the protection heretofore extended to their Uves, merchandize and buUdings. Upon the heels of the intense excitement and agitation, which prevaUed but a short time ago, comes the base suggestion that a huge job has been projected, haAdng for its objective point the appropriation of a large sum of money, to be spent in procuring an additional water supply for the city. The community is in no frame pf mind to Usten to propositions of needless or wasteful expenditures of money, even though the objects contemplated are apparently praiseworthy. We think we can rely confidently upon Com¬ missioner CampbeU himseH, and upon the DaUy Press, .to thwart the designs of evil-minded per¬ sons who are ever on the alert to profit by pubUc calamities and apprehensions.- The supplementing of our present facilities for obtaining Avater by such mechanical adjuncts as have been indicated, wiU afford sufficient scope for the exercise of official energy and ingenuity and Avill doubtless result iu an abundant present proAdsion. Sufficient time will thus be afforded for the calm and diipi-tssionate consideration of the whole subject, AAdth a vieAv to the selection of the readiest aud most economical means and the maturing of the Avisest plans for placing our Avater supply, present and prospective, upon a sure and safe foundatiou. The discussion Avhich has been so actively car¬ ried on in the daUy press during the period of threatened famine has developed many practical ideas and suggestions, some of Avhich we propose briefly to summarize for the purpose of future reference: 1. New York is found to be no longer in the anomalous position of a city surroimded by water but unable to procure a sufficiency for the uses of Ufe. Suggestions have been offered and strenu¬ ously urged in favor of utilizing the salt water which exists in such abimdance about the shores of the island. Whatever value attaches to these propositions must be determined by scientific men, both m regard to the quaUty of the water proposed to be used and in the appliances neces¬ sary for handling it. If capable of being utilized at aU, Avith the vast ocean directly at our door, we certainly can stand iu no great danger of be¬ coming destitute of the indispensable fiuid. Other and bolder propositions have also been presented, though differing gi-eatly in their feasibUity. In the case of the total faUure of the croton water supply, it wUl be consoUng to learn that Ave have other mighty streams of pm-e and wholesome water which can be draAAm upon and subsidized for the benefit of our city, to wit:—the Housa¬ tonic, the Passaic and the waters of the upper Hudson, whUe the magnificent reservoirs located in the Adirondacks, though distant and difficult of access, may be held in reserve for the supply of New York fifty or one himdred years hence. All these considerations leave no doubt that New York cau boast of a greater number and volume of accessible and reUable suppUes of pure and wholesome water than any other city on the globe. The necessity for reaching such suppUes has only to develope itself plainly, when the cap¬ ital and mechanical ingenuity necessary to their utilization avUI be promptly forthcoming. 2. This discussion has brought to Ught the fact that the distribution or attempted distribution of water, through om- city, by means of pipes and the gra-vity principle, is quite as primitive and crude in its mechanical contrivance, as is the ex¬ isting sewerage system south of 59th street. At no distant day, this twin subject of water distri¬ bution and sewerage, so closely aUied as to be correlative, wUl have to undergo complete re¬ vision and reconsti-uction. Fortunately the sub¬ ject of sewerage has heretofore been so thorough¬ ly canvassed and discussed by Gen. Viele and other scientific and sanitary experts that we may be said to have attained the perfection of theory In i-egard to It. These theories have already been put Into practical effect in many of the up-town districts, and particularly along the boulevards , and avenues suiTOunding the park. The work that has there been done albeit at an enormous expense Avill stand the test of ages, and serve as a'model for the reconsti-uction of the other work that remains to be done south of 59th street. The indispensible supplement of a perfect sewerage system is such an abundant water supply that the sewers avIU be constantly flushed, purified and kept in a state of motion by the passage of run¬ ning water through them. Any abridgment of our Avater supply avUI have the effect of leaving our sewers in a state of perilous putrefaction and stagnation. We "may safely attribute to this cause the complaints of malaria, which have heretofore existed in the upper part of the city and which exist to this day to an alarming de¬ gree, deterring om* citizens from venturing Avlth their f amiUes into those districts which are of the highest elevation and consequently, under the present system, deficient In Avater supply. Sewers have been Introduced almost univei-saUy over the island, or sufficiently so at least to carry off all surface drainage, and yet emanations from foul and Inert sewers are discovered to be as destruc¬ tive to human health as any miasma, which may arise from stagnant water on the surface. We have before claimed, and noAv reiterate with em¬ phasis, that it AvUl not answer for the authorities to attempt to place any check upon the free use of water, particularly in residence locaUties, where the fiow through the sewers Is admitted to be Insufficient and where periodical fiushings have to be resorted to as a means of keeping them clean. The gi-eat use or waste of water, of which we heai- so inuch, is apt to occur at points near the river, and consequently near the outlets of the sewers since the principle manufactories and large consumers of water are there located, so the interior Unes of seAverage get no benefit of their Avash. It is far better for our authorities to address themselves to the task of furmshlng a superabundant supply of water than to attempt any repressive measures Avhlch avUI surely en- taU sickness and disease upon our population and render the -vUest contagious endemic in our soU. 3. Another subject to which prominence has been given in the existing discussions, and one upon which we desire to offer a few criticisms, is that of the per capita use of water. Assuming the population of the city to be one miUion, and the daUy supply of water to be one hundred mUUon of gallons, the daily consumption of each inhab¬ itant is there sat doAvn at one hundred gaUons. Comparative tables are thus presented shovring thepe?- capita use of water in various cities in this country and in Europe, in all of which New York is made to figure at the head of the list as consyming the largest quantity of water per in¬ habitant. About as much value can be attached to these statistics of water consumption as to simUar tables prepared Avith. reference to other recondite subjects. They convey one idea and one only, -without comment or explanation. We claim that the comparison thus Instituted Is Inad¬ equate, unreUable, unjust, and reaUy conveys no more information than that certain cities are supplied with a certain aggregate of water. The situation of those cities, the character of the •water supply, the uses to which it is put, the con¬ duct of the inhabitants with reference to its use,'