Monday, July 16, 2012

Chicago PM Sunday 8 July 2012   

Editors, The Chicago Sun-Times


Early in this year's summer-like March a Chicago Park District drinking fountain was already running just east of the Berwyn LSD underpass. Not only running, but continuously, as in the old days. This went on for over a week. Did District management finally decide the constantly running fountains did not waste much water after all? Soon reality returned: to get a drink from that fountain now you need to press a button.

Back in June 2003 the District announced that their 1,000 drinking fountains, which ran 24 hours and use 1,400 gallons of water a day per fountain, would be  fitted with new faucets as part of city efforts to conserve water.

I've been studying these fountains probably since first being picked up by my father high enough to get a drink in Gresham's Foster park in 1937. I really got involved in 2001-2002 when, over two full seasons, using a 1 pint container and a stop watch, I measured how much water they 'wasted'. In over 50 tests they consistently put out 1 pint every 20 seconds, 3 pints a minute, or 375 gallons a minute for all 1000 fountains.

Some perspective: a single Chicago fire hydrant (there are 47,000 total) running full blast puts out 1750 gallons/minute - 4 times what 1,000 fountains do. Further, even the unsubstantiated 1,400 gallons of water per day per fountain works out to only 972 gallons per minute for 1,000 fountains, slightly more than half what a single fire hydrant puts out.

The District said the new fixtures... will cost about $300 per fountain, plus about $200 for parts and labor.... So we spent $500,000 dollars to reduce the city water usage by less than that of turning off a single fire hydrant?

The $half million to buy the 1000 new valves is gone, But can't we have the plumbers just permanently deactivate the buttons, and turn on/off each fountain with the valve at its base every spring and fall, and let the rest of us get a fine cold drink of pure clean Chicago water more conveniently than anyone else in the world?

After the installation of the last of the 1,000 new faucets, did the the manager of the Jardine water plant  rush in to tell the mayor: “Instead of pumping a billion gallons a day, we are are now pumping only 999,460,000 gallons of water per day! Can I get a raise now?”

Also, for global warmists worried that the 1,000 fountains running continuously would lower the lake level, at  375 gallons a minute for 7 months a year it would take 295 years to lower it one inch.

Arnold H Nelson

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