Pilot Program Suggested to Redesign Fire Hydrants to Double as Water Fountains

Pilot Program Suggested to Redesign Fire Hydrants to Double as Water Fountains

by M.C. Millman

City Council Member Erik Bottcher introduced a bill last week to launch a pilot program to retrofit fire hydrants into water fountains.

The pilot program was first reported by amNewYork Metro. The news agency reported that Bottcher's legislation is intended to provide people with alternatives to bottled water, given the negative impact plastic bottles have on the environment and on health in general. Until now, water has been out of reach, but with 109,411 fire hydrants located throughout the five boroughs, there is already an abundant infrastructure for water distribution and a tremendous potential for citywide public access to fresh drinking water. 

Having a water fountain conveniently available from a fire hydrant would allow New Yorkers to take a pass on plastic water bottles and avoid the inconvenience of carrying around reusable water bottles. However, unless the water fountains come with a filter, Boro Parkers will not be able to avail themselves of the new device for drinking water. 

Other cities that have successfully retrofitted fire hydrants into drinking fountains, according to Urban Ominbus's 2019 article, include Montreal, Calgary, Canada, and Budapest, Hungary, according to a 2019 article by Urban Omnibus.

After a public design competition, the pilot program under the new bill would retrofit at least five hydrants with water fountains in each of the five boroughs from April to September during the years of the pilot.


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