Water Bottle Refilling Station for GlobalTap

Providing an affordable, scalable clean-water alternative to disposable plastic bottles.

Convenient access to clean water is a major issue in the developed and developing worlds. People buy either individual bottles or large jugs of potable water to ensure that what they’re drinking is readily accessible and safe. But the cost of the world’s increased bottled-water habit goes far beyond its purchase price, when the long-term environmental impact is taken into consideration. The sheer volume of plastic waste created has led communities in which it is a luxury to tax or ban bottled-water consumption. GlobalTap, an international clean-water organization, sought a new, more sustainable means to provide the public with better access to clean drinking water and to raise awareness about worldwide water issues. The group partnered with IDEO to create an affordable yet iconic-looking fountain that could be installed in virtually any community.

The filling station provides an alternative to traditional outdoor drinking faucets—and an easy, enticing way to replenish reusable bottles on the street. The fountain’s tall, sleek shape is striking and simple, enabling it to stand out in crowded areas. Bonus feature: It doesn’t require anyone to hunch over to get a drink!

GlobalTap relies on basic manufacturing and assembly techniques so that it can be built, installed, and maintained with minimal cost or effort worldwide. The design is flexible enough to accommodate internal filters and other future technologies, yet robust enough to endure all sorts of potential outdoor abuse. In developing countries, where the safety of drinking water is of special concern, the addition of filtering technologies will be key to water safety. “Getting free refills for your reusable water container can be tougher than it sounds. While it’d be nice to walk into a cafe or restaurant and ask to fill ’er up, social decorum says you should buy something to sweeten up your request,” science and tech writer Jaymi Heimbuch noted on Treehugger.com. “GlobalTap is on the task, working to get free, accessible and clean water refill stations to those carting around containers.”

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Project date: 2009


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