Drinking water fountains are making a comeback. To be honest, they never actually died out; they’ve always been there, but had lost their popularity due to the rise in bottled water. But while the latter is by far the most popular choice, municipalities, schools and companies all over the world are making an effort to provide more environmentally friendly alternatives.
One such alternative are drinking fountains, which have always served a convenient refreshment since time immemorial. Many cities around the world feature artistic, and world renowned fountains that are celebrated as landmarks, with some listed below.
This is one of only two fountains in Karlsruhe. As you can see, its design is plain, functional and unspectacular to say the least. This is because the Germans are not overly fond of tap water or public drinking spouts.
The Wallace fountains feature a number of designs and colours and can be spotted all over Paris. Apart from their appealing design, they offer fresh, clean drinking water for pedestrians. These iconic Parisian landmarks were designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg in the 1870’s and named after the Englishman, Richard Wallace, who financed their construction. They are displayed in public parks and along the pavements.
The city is also home to France’s first public sparkling water fountains, which signify the municipality’s strong attempt at weaning its residence off of sugary drinks and bottled water. These can be found at the Eau de Paris office, Parc Andre Citroen and in the Jardin de Reuilly, with more coming soon. Today there are a total of 1200 drinking fountains in the city.
London is home to both historic and modern public fountains. The most famous being Baroness Burdett-Coutt’s fountain in Victoria Park, east London, which dates back to 1862. The Michael Freeman fountain is much younger, built in 2009 and located in Hyde Park. It adds a modern feel to park with its brilliant spherical design.
Although there are hundreds of water fountains in Spain deserving a mention, there is one that stands out: the La Rambla drinking fountain in Barcelona. Legend has it that if you drink from this fountain, you’ll always return to the city.
While water may be the most essential resource, the technology used to harness its worth is equally as great. Without purification and cooling systems, for example, we wouldn’t have as much access to H20 as we need. This makes it essential to explore technologies that are being developed for the efficient use of water.
Nanotechnology in Filtration
The use of nanotechnology is nothing new, but its use in water can mean the difference between 1.6-million people dying every year from water related diseases and a much lower number. Researchers in India have discovered a way for nanoparticles to remove bacteria, microbes and other unwanted particles from H20.
The technology emits silver ions that actively seek out contaminants and destroy them. Such sophistication could be a game changer for developing countries that have to contend with diseases such as cholera and much recently Ebola.
While membrane chemistry has been used in projects such as desalinating saltwater, there’s new developments that could make this process cheaper. As is, the process of purification costs up to $1/m³. However, this could soon reduce to between $0.80 and $0.50 over five years.
Head of global development for water at the chemical company BASF, Yannick Fovet, explains that new ceramic membranes could make the process of treating saltwater cheaper, while keeping with system integrity and longevity.
Every day we’re educated on how to limit our use of water, yet we still find an inflated utility bill at the end of the month. According to research, up to 45m cubic metres of water is lost in a single household every day in developed countries. This may be a result of a leaking faucets or a loose tap, but such wastage is taxing on your wallet, the economy and environment.
This is where smart monitoring comes in. Dale Hartley, director of business development at SebaKMT, says that electronic devices such as pressure and acoustic sensors that provide real time data can help companies reduce wastage by detecting leaks quicker. This will also negate the need to build extra treatment plants, reservoirs and water catchment facilities.
Wastewater is a headache inducing issue for many, even in developed countries. Most of it either get flushed down rivers untreated or used as irrigation water. Apart from the obvious side effects, the process is not sustainable as it contradicts with the water cycle. This could soon change as new technologies, like HYBACS Units found at Ashborne Sewage Treatment Works, might just have the capabilities to process wastewater, transforming it into energy or water for consumption.
Every now and then there’ll be rumours of water companies overcharging consumers for services they haven’t used or at rates that well exceed the norm. We have compiled this blog to help you find out if your water provider is overcharging you.
Many people don’t even realise that they’re being overcharged for water services – particularly surface water drainage. It’s important that you educate yourself on ways to tell if you’re being overcharged and what you can do about it.
Get an expert in
Whether you’re a resident who’s concerned about the high cost of your water services or a company looking to refine your overheads, we recommend that you ask an expert to fully investigate your monthly expenditure.
Once it’s clear that there are grounds to claim for potential rebates, it’s important you take the necessary steps to do so, no matter how difficult this may be. If you spend thousands on water, you could recoup thousands back into your business or home, instead of lining the water provider’s pockets.
When you’re trying to reclaim overcharges, it’s important that you act quickly as some companies will dispute the time limits for customers to reclaim. Regulating bodies all have different guidelines on how many years a customer can reclaim on overpayments, which means it’s important you don’t leave it for too long. Despite this, there may still be a chance for you to reclaim even if a decade or two have passed. The Financial Services Ombudsman has stated that there is no time limit on how far back claims can be made.
Make an official complaint that your water provider is overcharging you
When you have gathered all the evidence you need to prove you’ve been overcharged, you need to write a letter to your water service provider. Every company should have a complaints procedure in place, which can usually be found on their website. Remember to include copies of your evidence when you email them and explain that they have overcharged you and you wish to be refunded.
Chances are, they will ignore or reject your initial request. Write again to a more senior person and request that they look into the matter. Make sure to include the reference number from your initial enquiry to stress the point that you’ve already placed the complaint.
If neither of these written complaints produces the results that you want, the next step is to take your case to the relevant regulatory authority. For water related services, you must refer it to the Consumer Council for Water. Luckily, they aim to settle 80% of complaints within 40 days, which means that you should have a viable ending to the matter within that time period.
When it comes to money, it’s never easy getting what you deserve, particularly when doing so involves proving that a company is (possibly knowingly) overcharging you. However, if you’ve done your homework and have the proof to back it up, stick to your guns and follow through on the matter until it’s resolved.