Campaigners are calling for a national competition to design a public water fountain to make them as commonplace and iconic as British telephone and letter boxes.
In a bid to help rid the country of the scourge of plastic bottles, it is believed that water fountains could even form part of the nation’s cultural identity.
Ben Reynolds, the deputy chief executive of the charity Sustain, claims the country needs a bold new design for a drinking fountain to replace the crumbling Victorian fountains.
“I think a new wave of water fountains could be the crux of dealing with our plastic water bottle problem, as well as our addiction to sugary fizzy drinks,” he said.
“We should be looking to have water fountains in every single park and high street. Telephone boxes are on their way out, and letter boxes will soon follow.
“So, the public water fountain could unite people around a vision of what we want our country to be like in the years to come. A competition would also help raise public awareness about them.”
Ralph Baber, trustee of the Drinking Fountain Association which was set up in 1859 when there was very little free drinking water available in London at a time when cholera was also water borne, backed the call for a competition.
“I think the reemergence of the drinking fountain is very much on the agenda. One of the big issues we’ve experienced is finding ones that are vandal proof,” he said, adding that Paris has new fountains that at night automatically drop down below the pavement to avoid any unwanted attention.
Mr Baber said the actual fountain can cost as little as £400 with the greatest expense going on connecting the device to the water supply, pushing the final figure to about £5,000.
Some major British cities have already begun building fountains in parks and high streets.
Bristol Water is planning to build 10 water fountains in the city this year after it estimated that 30,000 plastic bottles were saved in the first six months of its first public fountain which was installed in 2015. Last year, Hull unveiled three new drinking water fountains in the city centre.
The City of London Corporation announced at the beginning of the year that there would be a “significant increase” in the number of drinking fountains in the Square Mile as part of its ‘Plastic Free City’ project.
Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, is also drawing up plans to install fountains at popular locations around the capital.
“Britain is overflowing with pointless plastic, piling up in landfills and polluting our oceans,” he said. “I’m determined to take the lead and cut London’s plastic waste. That’s why I’m installing new drinking fountains across the capital, and encouraging shops and other venues to offer free tap water refills. I’m also looking at the potential for a bottle return scheme.”
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/24/drinking-water-fountains-should-become-iconic-red-british-telephone/