Fire hydrant drinking fountains

The Budapest Waterworks Co. received the idea for combination fire hydrant drinking fountains thanks to the Smart City Lab competition opened by Design Terminal in 2014. The entry submitted by the Rehydrant Project start-up company that won the award in the ‘water’ category was first realised during Design Week.

The idea was conceived by five young women who have graduated recently, and who had focussed their attention on liveable, environmentally aware cities and, in particular, clean drinking water. The invention is as great as it is simple, since Budapest has several thousand fire hydrants, out of use yet full of water most of the time, and only used when there is a fire. The designers made use of that fact in a highly inventive fashion, while making sure that the converted fire hydrants are able to revert to their original function in a matter of seconds, so that fire-fighters do not waste precious moments on the conversion in times of emergency. On the other hand, they created a device that makes drinking comfortable, as they wanted both city dwellers and visitors to like using the fire hydrant drinking fountains.

Fotó: DSC 041, megvágva, hogy ne legyen olyan magas

As the new drinking fountains proved popular, and in view of our increasingly hot summers, the Budapest Capital City Municipality and the Budapest Waterworks Company decided to support the creation of a network of fire hydrant drinking fountains in Budapest, and launched it in 2015 by installing 43 drinking fountain attachments. It was an important aspect of the project to raise awareness of the residents of the capital as well as tourists that Budapest has clean and healthy drinking water, so much so that even the water from fire hydrants is completely safe to drink – provided appropriate maintenance is implemented, of course. The drinking fountain network soon became a part of the everyday lives of the city’s residents. Their popularity is proven by the fact that a number of district municipalities have now expressed an interest in the drinking fountains that were installed in the city centre as a pilot project in 2015, and they are planning to purchase a number of devices so as to provide the opportunity for refreshment in the street to the people in their districts, too, in the summer of 2016.