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What’s the problem with bottled water?

It takes about a 1/4 litre of oil and 7 litres of water to produce and transport 1 litre of bottled water. Then there’s the disposal. Globally, we throw away 150 billion water bottles every year. Line them up (nose to tail) and they’d stretch to the moon and back…50 times! Very few are recycled. Most bottles end up in landfills taking decades to decay. We believe that drinking water shouldn’t hurt the planet. That means more taps, more fountains and less bottled water.

How many fountains are Find-a-fountain campaigning for?

At the moment there are simply not enough fountains in the UK. For example, in London there is only one drinking fountain per 100, 000 Londoners. Our ambitious campaign aims to see at least 5 working drinking water fountains on the 3 busiest streets in each city in the UK.

Why are you mapping drinking water fountains?

No-one disputes that water consumption is hugely beneficial – even essential – for health and well-being. Reducing the amount of waste incurred by the 150 billion plastic water bottles that we discard every year will have a massive environmental impact. Fountain water is free and accessible to everyone. There is already a widespread network of drinking water fountains around the world: in these tough economic times it is the only solution to the problem posed by bottled water, without incurring significant cost.

Who is responsible for the upkeep of the drinking water fountains?

A public, outdoor drinking water fountain will be the responsibility of the Local Authority in which the drinking water fountain is found. The upkeep and hygiene of an indoor fountain will be maintained by the owners of the building or organisation.

How did you go about mapping the drinking water fountains?

Following a Freedom of Information request to councils for the rough locations of UK drinking water fountains, Guy Jeremiah and Paul O’Connell (the founders of Find-a-fountain), started the project. They cycled around London locating the first one hundred drinking water fountains and uploading their photos to the website. We need your help so that we can position and photograph the remaining un-located UK fountains that we know are out there!

How can I get involved with Find-a-Fountain?

Please sign up as a Find-a-fountain member. You will be able to access members only areas of the website, download our fountain installation and education guides, and add and amend the fountains already in existence. You will also receive occasional updates about Find-a-fountain activities. Furthermore, our volunteer co-ordinator can put you in touch with local like-minded people so that you can run your own local campaigns. We’ll be giving away a free Ohyo every week for the best fountain uploaded to the site.

How can I buy an Ohyo collapsible pocket-bottle?

Find-a-Fountain was established by the creators of Ohyo, the collapsible pocket-bottle. Ohyo makes drinking tap water easier. A full Ohyo holds 500ml of water. Empty it collapses to 1/3 of its original size to fit snugly in a pocket or handbag. So, like your keys or a mobile phone, it’s easy to always have it with you. Ohyo is environmentally friendly, convenient and economical, to visit the website please click here.

How can I begin my own campaign for more drinking water fountains in my area?

It is great news that you wish to get involved – public spaces desperately need more sources of free drinking water and a local campaign shows that power is with the people! To download our Find-a-fountain campaign guide please click here.

Can I upload fountains that I have found outside of the UK?

Absolutely. Find-a-fountain started in London but has swiftly become a national phenomenon. It is our aim to successfully map the drinking water fountains all over the world by working with our international partners WeTap.org, Bundyontap.org, and The Pacific Institute.

I have found some incorrect information on the site. How can I correct it?

There are many fountains on the system whose existence has not been confirmed., We are relying on our volunteers to give us trustworthy local knowledge. Once you have registered and logged in to the members only area of the site, you can amend details of the fountains that have already been mapped. This information will not go immediately onto the live site, but will go through our rigorous verification process before going public.

How can we be sure that the drinking water from fountains is clean? What are the Health and Safety procedures that are in place to ensure the cleanliness of the drinking water fountains?

Drinking water from public fountains is generally safe as there are many regulations in place to help protect the public from the potential hazards caused by drinking water fountains. These regulations include water filters at the source and a covered spout to help prevent people's lips from touching the spout. A covered spout also helps prevent the water that was splashed on the mouth from splashing back onto the spout. Furthermore, there is an advised minimum height requirement for the water flow. To adhere to health and safety regulations, the water must flow at least at 4 inches high, so a cup may be placed under the spout. If you do not wish to drink directly from the spout then a good way round it is to use your Ohyo collapsible pocket-bottle.

Since becoming aware of the dangers of lead in water, the government have enforced regulations about the piping used in public drinking water fountains. There are many more regulations enforced by the WRAS (The Water Regulation Advisory Scheme) and EPDWA (European Point of Use Drinking Water Associations). Drinking fountain water comes from the public mains supply, which is more highly regulated for human consumption than even bottled water. Drinking water fountains are, however, used at the user's own risk: Find-a-Fountain is a tool to map available drinking water rather than to monitor their maintenance. If you are concerned as to the state of a drinking water fountain and its cleanliness, it is best to contact the local authority in which the fountain is found. Do also drop us an e-mail so that we can update our map.

Why are so many of the drinking water fountains broken or in disrepair?

In modern times, drinking water fountains have faced several obstacles that meant that they were not being used as often as they had been in the past. The largest problem has been the ease and convenience of buying bottled water. In addition, the fountains were in the wrong place: for instance, how many drinking water fountains are there on Oxford Street. Moreover, these fountains are not signposted. Very few local authorities have a map showing the location of the fountain on their websites: consequently, many people simply do not know where they are and therefore can’t use them, even if they want to!

Recently the public are beginning to react against our extensive reliance on bottled water and are seeking an alternative. Find-a-Fountain will provide the public with the location of all these fountains to ensure that they have the choice to use an environmentally friendly water source.

What benefits do fountains bring to Local Authorities?

The prominence of drinking water fountains benefits the community and heightens the Local Authority’s green credentials. There is considerable demand for this service from a large segment of society, and it is up to the LAs to provide what their community wants. Drinking fountains contribute towards a healthy population and reduces refuse services. Restoration of older fountains heightens awareness of the historical and cultural monuments in the LA and aesthetically, visually and practically enhances public spaces. Above all, involvement in the Find-a-fountain campaign can place a Local Authority at the forefront of environmental activity, as they respond to a community-led movement.

Why do you map broken fountains?

Many of the broken fountains were once monuments of great beauty and historical significance. Ensuring the restoration of these broken fountains is also a key part of our campaign. Historically these fountains have been central to local communities and are thus an apt starting point for community action.

Can I use the website on my mobile?

You certainly can. Iphone and android phones will support our website with ease, meaning that Find-a-fountain can be accessed from any location or internet connection. Use the find my Nearest Fountain function to discover where you can fill-up when you’re on-the-go.