During the mid-nineteenth century, drinking water fountains began to appear in most large cities to provide a clean water source for all inhabitants, both 2 legged and 4 legged. These fountains were also incorporated into schools, parks, sports venues and other public buildings. Throughout the 20th century however, these fountains fell into disrepair or were decommissioned and the disposable plastic water bottle became a common everyday sight as sales of bottled water sky-rocketed.
With the growing plastic pollution problem, there is now a global movement to refurbish old drinking fountains and ensure new ones are incorporated into public spaces where none currently exist. This movement has also led to the construction of “Tap Stations” which allow the public to refill water bottles at no cost. These are efforts aimed at reducing and possibly eliminating the number of disposable bottles of water being purchased and discarded.
Municipalities are one of the players leading this movement. The City of Guelph has introduced the Guelph Water Wagon, a free service which attends public events providing a source of clean drinking water to fill your water bottle. In the summer of 2017, the equivalent of 38,624 – 500ml plastic water bottles were dispensed.
Many apps are now available which allow you to find free drinking water locations around the world. Apps such as WeTap and dopper can be found in both the Google Play store and the Apple App Store for FREE. Elsewhere around the globe, a number of other organizations and governments are mapping local free clean water sources.
These projects are all intended to reduce purchases of bottled water and thereby reduce the plastic in our environment.