IT IS PAINFULLY OBVIOUS that the new Cedar River dam has become a "white elephant" on Seattle's hands.
After the expenditure of a huge amount for the construction of a fine structure which undoubtably would hold all the water expected, the "engineers" on the City Council--who are de facto "engineers" because councilmen--have discovered what the experts predicted before the work was commenced--that the porous north bank of the proposed new reservoir leaks like a sieve.
It may be the part of prudence, after two disasterous attempts to utilize this basin, to abandon the new project entirely. Further attempts to seal the basin may merely waste additional public money. Certainly, the results to date are distinctly discouraging to the taxpayers who have had to foot the bills.
However, any friend of the municipal utilities will be reluctant to definitely abandon a project upon which so much public money already has been expended, and this circumstance probably will incline the present and succeeding Councils to tinker with the north bank in a desperate endeavor to realize in some way on the city's expenditures to date.
The Times, among others, at the time questioned the advisability of going ahead with this proposition in the face of expert advice tendered by men whose judgment in these matters is entitled to serious consideration. Like every other taxpaying medium in the city it acutely regrets the circumstance that certain stubborn members of the Council presisted in a course which has involved such a deplorable waste of public moneys.
At this time, it is compelled to share the general view that the new dam is a municipal liability and, in the light of most recent experience, it cannot help but feel that the paying out of additional money in attempted sealing operations will be very much like "pouring water in a rat-hole."
At the same time, it would like to see some use made of this costly project. In this aspiration it but expresses the ideas of the majority of the city's people, who are equally in doubt as to what can be done, if anything, to straighten out this tangle.
We have this new dam. That's a patient fact which cannot be dodged. Its erection undoubtably was a blunder, but there's no way of remedying that now, although the prompt retirement from public life of the men responsible in any way for it would be a measure of justice.
If possible, let's utilize it in some way; but, in further experiments, let's restrain from the enthusiasm of the experimenters to such a degree as to prevent a recurrence of the floods in adjacent territory which pile up additional costs that must be met from the municipal treasury.