By Kevin Hurley
Recently I have been making a concerted effort to carry a reusable water container to avoid the need to purchase a single-use plastic bottle. However, finding a public water fountain to fill-up at is not always the easiest thing to do when you live in NYC. Generally speaking, over the past few decades, water fountains throughout the country have been fading from our city’s public landscapes. The need to “Bring Back the Water Fountain” is a healthy, affordable, and sustainable way to get more residents of our city to consume NYC’s tap water. But how do we make folks more aware of this priceless resource?
There are a lot of great programs and initiatives occurring within our city aimed at increasing awareness and accessibility to our world renowned drinking water. For starters, TapIt is trying to build a widespread partnership of cafes in the city that will make clean tap water accessible to the public. Additionally, the 100 Fountains Project, in partnership with NYC, is a global design competition which seeks to install 100 new fully operational drinking fountains through the city. The hope of this project is to revive the public drinking fountain.
The return of summer also signals the return of the NYC Water-On-the-Go program, where outdoor drinking water stations are hooked up to the city’s fire hydrants for the drinking and filling of water bottles. Want to find where the stations will be and when? There’s an app for that…sorry android users.
While there are some great projects occurring within NYC, other cities looking to promote their high-quality tap water and reduce single-use bottled water consumption are coming up with some innovative ideas. I really like what San Francisco is doing with their “DrinkTap Project.” The city is installing sleek, blue tap stations throughout the city where residents and visitors alike can easily refill their reusable containers. Check out the map / video (and catchy song) that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission has put together in order to help spread the word.
I am a frequent user of the water fountains in NYC, well to be honest, one water fountain in particular. Whenever I exercise in central park, I am sure to make a stop for some cold, clean NYC water. Nothing beats some high quality H2O, especially after logging a few miles in the park. If you have ever walked around the west side of the Central Park reservoir loop you may have stumbled onto my go-to water fountain. I really need to branch out and find some new water fountains across the city…
About the Author: Kevin has been working as a Grants Management Specialist with the EPA since 2007, and is currently on detail serving as special assistant to the Regional Administrator. He grew up in South Jersey, went to school outside of Baltimore, and received a Masters in Public Policy from Rutgers University. Kevin currently resides in the Upper East Side of Manhattan where you can usually find him exercising or playing outdoor ice hockey in Central Park.