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Helping LIers understand water usage

Finally, the water arrives in your home. If

Finally, the water arrives in your home. If your building is less than six stories high, gravity does all the work. If not, then pumps in your building will help to move the water to the top floors. To maintain quality, testing is done at nearly 1,000 sampling stations around the city.

How good is the water that comes out of your faucet? Here's one way to look at it: The city is only one of five big municipalities that is allowed by the federal government to supply unfiltered water. If that's not enough, the DEP releases a yearly Water Quality Report offering information on the water supply. You can read the full 2017 report at nyc.gov/html/dep/pdf.

Credit: iStock

Daily Point

On the (water) table

A report by Citizens Campaign for the Environment on water rates paid by Long Islanders seems likely to have some legislative legs.

The report found that many water districts have confusing and abstruse ways of reporting how much water customers use, which obscures the cost of that water.

Released last week, the report comes on the heels of state legislation sponsored by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach) passed in the 2018 session that takes effect on Jan. 1, 2020, requiring that water districts that serve more than 10,000 customers publish water used in gallons — as opposed to something unintelligible, like cubic feet per second. They also must include a seasonal variation so customers know how much water they have used over time.

“The idea is based on conservation,” Kaminsky told The Point. “If you know how much you used you might say, ‘Oh my God,’ and cut back.”

Kaminsky, chair of the Senate’s environmental conservation committee, said he and James Gaughran (D-Northport), chair of the local government committee, have talked about expanding the law’s mandate to include districts serving smaller numbers of customers.

“There’s no doubt we could reconsider that,” Kaminsky said, “and we could reconsider whether water districts that don’t have water should be selling water,” a reference to the eight providers in the report who buy water from a neighboring districts and sell it to their own customers with higher fees.

Kaminksy said he’s also mulling whether to subject elections for water district commissioners to campaign finance laws.

All of which is to say that the report from Citizens Campaign for the Environment seems likely not to be a case of water under the bridge.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

Talking Point

On the road to DC with Julián Castro

Julián Castro’s “An Unlikely Journey” is the latest in The Point’s presidential contender summer reading. 

The former housing secretary and San Antonio mayor has had a high-profile career, despite lingering a bit below the top tier for 2020. There is the usual wooden political prose here -- he wants “to help others in my neighborhood be able to reach their own dreams” -- but also fun details about he and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, competing in high school tennis or tying for first place in Stanford University student government elections. We see Castro chatting about Elon Musk with President Barack Obama, and “roughing out bullet points” for his first phone call to the woman who becomes his wife. 

But the strange thing about the memoir, published last year, begins with its subtitle, “Waking Up from My American Dream.” That seems to foreshadow a dark narrative about the false promises of American society, which would make sense for a Latino politician in the age of a president who has warned of an immigrant “invasion.” 

Yet Donald Trump is relegated to an introduction, where Castro visits the border, and a 2016 election-night epilogue. The book feels as if it were written in a pre-Trump era. It is largely a sunny journey, mostly up: his grandmother flees the Mexican Revolution to America, and in a few generations you have the Castro twins smoothly injected into American politics after hard work and law studies at Harvard University. There are dark moments: as a young man Castro walks in on said grandmother trying to overdose on Tylenol. But the professional path is clear: a staircase from Texas to Washington that might have led to being Hillary Clinton’s running mate, or at least working in her administration. 

That didn’t happen, and now Castro is trying to jump right to the top job himself. But one wonders whether his play-by-the-rules forward momentum is enough in a radically changed political environment. 

- Mark Chiusano @mjchiusano

Pencil Point

Name calling

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/opinion

Quick Points

  • The state of New York has prepared a handbook to help people comply with the new law mandating vaccines for children attending school. They need a handbook because the law is so darn complicated: You can only get an exemption if the vaccine is a threat to your health.
  • One Capitol Hill source tells Axios that if new federal gun control legislation doesn’t get passed in September, it won’t get done before the 2020 election. So, what are you betting on — September or bust? Yeah, thought so.
  • White House trade adviser Peter Navarro says that tariffs “are not hurting anybody here ... OK? They’re hurting China.” Uh-oh, the Trump tariff virus is spreading.
  • White House adviser Stephen Miller says U.S. citizenship is “something sacred.” So special, in fact, he wants to make sure as few people as possible get it.
  • Billionaire philanthropist Tom Steyer will leave the Democratic presidential campaign trail this week to report for jury duty in San Francisco. Will anyone notice?
  • Northrop Grumman wants the state of New York pull back on its ambitious plan to clean the awful groundwater plume emanating from the company’s former manufacturing facilities in Bethpage, saying the plan will end up “leaving the citizens of Bethpage worse off.” No, Grumman has done that already.

- Michael Dobie @mwdobie

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