Sunday, September 04, 2011

Drinking Fountains

Does anybody know if they still have drinking fountains in school playgrounds, or have they fallen foul of the Health & Safety Regulations?

I ask because there is this new campaign to improve the public’s access to free drinking water – the Find-a-Fountian project. Except it isn’t quite like that from what I can see. It is a place for restuarants, pubs and cafes to publicise themselves as providing free tap water, but I doubt they would do so if you just walked in off the street and asked them to fill your bottle without actually purchasing anything else. I may be wrong of course, perhaps I might try it next time I’m up in town. They say:

The maps on the website also include data provided by, a not-for-profit organisation that shows the location of indoor taps where you can refill your water bottle for free. This currently includes over 1000 restaurants, pubs, cafes and shops across the UK.
However, it does highlight the problem of bottled drinking water. Not the water but the bottles. They are plastic and disposable – they don’t get re-used. A typical local authority will dispose of 10 million of these plastic bottles a year and (are you paying attention Sven?) at a significant cost to us taxpayers. It’s not just the ones that get recycled, it is also those that end up in our rivers, in our parks and on our beaches.

Which leads me to something I don’t normally do – product endorsement. The campaign is supported by Aquatina who make collapsable pocket water bottles. I want one! They are “Made in England” which is not something you hear a lot these days unless it’s a “mess”.

They also hope that this campaign will lead to a second phase which will facilitate the installation of new drinking water fountains around the country and the restoration of old fountains which have fallen into disrepair.


  1. What's the point of providing free drinking fountains if places to relieve yourself are few and far between? This isn't "joined up thinking" as the pundits say nowadays.
    According to Time Out London in 2006, there were only 400 public conveniences left in London. That's one per 16,800 residents. Cash-strapped councils have been flogging them to cut costs and make money. It's a win-win situation for councillors, a lose-loos situation for everybody else. And it's getting worse.
    It's plastic bottle time, folks. Carry one everywhere you go and hope nobody notices you filling it up.

  2. Many years ago - certainly prior to 1973 - Redbridge introduced black sack refuse collection to the Hainault area, allegedly to save money. They even supplied the sacks. In 1995 they abolished the free sacks - yes, to save money!

    Now. If they put dinking fountains in every park, school and shopping parade in 2012 they can rake in parking charges from the parks and the shopping parades from fountain users. Then in 2015 they can save money by abandoning the fountains......

  3. Thanks to your post, I went and found out where to buy the aquatina, they are around £4.99 for those that are interested, also the find a fountain app is useful. Take your point about finding public conveniences though.

  4. NeighbourhoodWatcher11:15 am, September 05, 2011

    Many, many, many years ago, I had a racing bike (Dawes lightweight frame) and I had one of those "concertina" water bottles. I believe Millett's used to sell them. It was also handy for "mountaineering" in the Lake District.

    It is good to see that someone is still producing them. Perhaps someone was waiting for the patent to expire?

  5. You on a racing bike NHW? I presume that in those days you were, like all of us, of somewhat less generous proportions?

  6. NeighbourhoodWatcher2:07 pm, September 05, 2011

    ".... generous proportions" of what?

    For me to know and you to wonder, Morris