Category Archives: Melbourne

Bottled water ban

Bottled water ban ‘stupid’

Below is a few paragraphs from the article from the 10th October 2011 about the VCA part of the University of Melbourne banning the selling of bottled water on campus and installing more drinking fountains the free access to water.

“Last week, the VCA announced it would stop selling bottled water at its Southbank campus in a bid to reduce its environmental footprint. The university has installed 10 new drinking fountains instead.

The Australasian Bottled Water Institute’s chief executive, Geoff Parker, said the ban would not only create a ”nanny campus” but questioned the environmental benefits of the decision.

”If they are serious about reducing their environmental footprint, they probably need to ban soft drinks and coffee and just about every other commercial beverage other than bottled water, which has one of the lowest environmental footprints of any beverage,” Mr Parker said.”


My Survey on Drinking Fountains

After somewhat a success of randomly asking people to answer my survey on drinking fountains, going up to people of all ages and cultures on the streets in Melbourne I have an online copy. I know time is running out but its all helpful. Face to face interviews are good as there are lots of questions, and people like to clarify things to make sure they are saying the right things. Though it also comes with a bit of rejection as people choose not to fill them out.

So now even though time is running out for research, here is the online version. It was suggested by Charles to make it faster to gather research for me as its so time consuming when doing the paper version and meeting people. Plus online it only takes a few minutes as its a yes or no. every one is welcome to fill it out the more the better.

Liquid Gold

Here is what 60 minutes has to say about bottled water and tap water in Australia.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Liquid Gold", posted with vodpod

A blessing in disguise

Since I lost my diary containing my mapping of drinking fountains I thought that was that, and I didn’t have time to redo it, but as it happens the order in which I have taken my photos would help to map them out I was going to redo (and still am another day) my map and have a key as to which kind of photos are located where.

In doing so I came across this lovely article from the age which lead me to a hand drawn map of drinking fountains created by some one else. Bellow is the best bits from the article

MELBOURNE’S reputation as a drinking city might be growing, but try telling that to Patrick Jones. All he wants is a free drink of water.
A search one afternoon for a drinking fountain in the city centre made Mr Jones angry.
So angry that he spent 7½ hours trudging around the city marking drinking fountains on a map.
Of the 27 drinking fountains found, only 18 worked.

Greens councillor Fraser Brindley last week asked council officers to audit the state of the city’s fountains in response to Mr Jones’ campaign.
Last night Cr Brindley said the council should back the drive so that city visitors would not have to buy bottled water.
“Getting the city’s fountains we’ve got working properly is a good first step,” he said.
“There is now this assumption that people will buy water if they need a drink. You should be able to get free water if you want it.”
“In Rome there’s a water fountain on every corner. Here we’ve got one for every 40,000 people,” said Mr Jones, citing Melbourne City Council figures showing that 732,000 people come to the city centre each day.

Here is the site for Just Free Water


A little while ago I called Melbourne City Council and spoke to an environmental officer about free drinking water points in the city. As a regular visitor to Melbourne I wanted a map of the city showing free water points so as I knew where I could refill my stainless steel water flask. He told me there was no such map he could give me, but thought there were about 15 bubblers in non-park areas within the city.

So I decided to map it out for myself. It took me about 7 hours to walk the CBD locating water bubblers. I found 27 of them, 9 of which required repairs, leaving 18 bubblers for an estimated 710,600 people who use the city each day (figure attained from the MCC website).

In real terms this means there is one bubbler for approximately 40,000 people in the city.

The start of the campaign:
1. Approach your local council to repair existing water fountains and supply new water fountains throughout your city or town.
2. Lobby your council/government to ban drinks bottled in plastic – stop petrochemical products creating more landfill problems than we already have and ask them to assess the health merits of every drink bottled in plastic under production today.
3. Get your local council to advocate ethical water drinking by citizens – thus promoting the carrying of refillable flasks, refilling them at free water fountain points, or from home.

It also featured in this issue of Dissent

And finally the blog created buy Patrick Jones where there is a little information about the project scatted through the posts.

Accessing public drinking water if you click on the link it takes you to the full sized image you can actually read.

Public necessity

Everything we buy is likely to be unsustainable and/or abusive in terms of its production and transportation. Water bottled in plastic is both.

How to Do Words With Things here is a book where Patrick Jones has added information about his campaign along with other poems and artworks, both my him and other authors.

“Jones describes his artworks as “poetical terrorism” or “physical graffiti” (38), a practice of site-specific, improvised and/or indeterminate happenings that disrupt public space, creating “temporary autonomous zones” (40). An example is Jones’s ongoing campaign against the Coca-Cola-owned bottled water, Mt Franklin, which is sourced (at a steal) from Jones’s local area in Victoria, bottled and branded as a consumer commodity and then sold for a massive profit.” Derrick Jensen: “If I had a thing of bottled water I would hold it up and say this is why we’re not going to have a revolution, because if people will pay for water bottled in plastic they will suffer any indignity” (35).

Jones’s campaign, Just Free Water, includes a website with information about public bubblers in the Melbourne CBD, illustrations of a techno-capitalist water cycle and a short film in which Jones reclaims a roadside patch near Mount Franklin and sets up a temporary site for play. Jones stickers bottle-caps with links to his website, and if he sees a Coca-Cola vending machine in a public space, he will turn the power off at the wall. “It is not from a sense of hope that I carry out these physical poems,” he says, “but rather from the consideration: traditional forms of poetry seem ridiculous this late in history” (38).
Citing British philosopher Alan Watts, Jones talks about how industrial-digital civilisation teaches the separation of the brain from the body. Watts refers to the body as contiguous with the rest of the world, “so that,” in Jones’s paraphrasing, “the air and water are as central to us as our lungs and heart” (29).

Fountains and photos

This fountain is interesting as it has water coming out from the side, you can see the wet ground where the small drain up the side where the water comes out.I am not sure why it is designed this way at all, as the water just goes down the drain. It is also waste water so it has spit inside it so you would not want to wash your hands or fill up a bottle from it. Its location is out neat the botanical gardens.

Here is another example of a drinking fountains drain which is visible, though the bin next to it makes it appear more dirty as I image the bin would smell.

This next drinking fountain has too much stagnant water around it making it feel and look very dirty. Its one of the older stone designs. It looks like the height of the water means it will land on the ground and there is a drain nearby, though its just formed a big wet puddle at the bottom.

Here is an interesting Photo of how he holds the weight of his bags up on top of the fountain why he drinks. I have cropped this photo so the user can’t be identified for privacy.

Holding books and camera while about to use the fountain.

Some fountains and water from around Melbourne, there isn’t as much left now we are in a drought.

Photos from the state library on-line

Drinking fountain economics:

Needing more convenient drinking water the city of Melbourne was the first to claim that its people had access to a public drinking fountain on every street. Melbourne has is one of only 5 cities in the world that have such clean drinking water due to the water catchment areas being protected. After people grew sick of using plastic bottles claiming they where to expensive, the bottles are a single use item designed to be throw away after one use, before the bottles chemicals breakdown and are ingested. Needing to drink at least 2 liters of water a day if half came from bottled water this would cost $1456 at a reasonable price of $2 a bottle.

The alterative to bottled water soon hit the streets with a newly design drinking fountain that made it easy to drink from, and fill up bottles. Before drinking fountains where scatted around the city outside the main shopping complexes in Bourke street, or in places that where had to find and you end up walking past them unnoticeably. They only place that seem sufficient where the parks, though with most of them not working it was disheartening.

The 14 different models are sold to councils and cities all across the world with the first instalment given free to councils on the condition they are placed within the same proximities to each other so people can from a central hub of fountains. The colours are changeable to fit in with councils colour themes and there is room within the design for local council’s logos.

After these drinking hubs begin to form in communities less bottled water was being consumed. In poorer communities people would monitor their public infrastructure to ensure it wasn’t damaged, the councils had to money to repair them when they are damaged we can’t go without water so we look after them and fix them ourselves.

How is it that councils receive free drinking fountains, once they are manufactured in China they are shipped to their new cities worldwide, on the condition they are installed in public places that can be utilised by their people. They are placed within easy walking distance to offer more connivance. Replacement parts can easily be ordered and installed.

One Melbournian remember times in her youth of using these drinking fountains, at school there where a number of places to drink from we never bothered lugging around heavy water bottles all day as when we needed a drink we simply walked up to them.

No one has gotten sick from these drinking fountains, they are cleaned and maintained by the council regularly you often see the maintenance workers about doing their jobs. A real ownership has started to occur. Some people in lower social economic environments rely on these fountains to drink form as they can’t afford bottled water taps inside toilets are often not safe to drink from so they have little choice.

The initial success came from more people utilising their public infrastructure this encouraged local councils to buy more of these fountains. The design is easy to find, can be sue by children, adults and those with disabilities and in wheelchairs. In buying them they are also contributing to other councils as with every order purchased free drinking fountains go on to other councils all around the world.  These fountains are really common goods that belong to everyone, when I go travelling overseas I can easily find them as they look similar and they have treated water inside so you don’t get sick. In many countries tap water is unsafe these areas have many people line up to use them. In China where they drink more hot water than cold, there are special heated drinking fountains for filling up bottles.

Business took a few years to develop as we couldn’t just give them all away and it took awhile for councils to add to their collection, we started off in Australia and it soon spread to other countries. Now there is high demand for our products with many people worldwide employed to manufacture, maintain and care for them. It is exciting to walk around a city and see every one using them, and it has helped to reduce the waste created by bottled water, and people are now using their local water again.