By Corinne Murdock |
City of Phoenix officials expressed interest in an idea for establishing $4,500 water fountains at each bus stop and public park. There are 4,038 bus stops within city boundaries according to city data, meaning the low estimated cost for such a project would amount to nearly $18.2 million.
The water fountains would be made with a polycarbonate shell, the same material used for bulletproof glass, and thermoelectric plates to serve as a water coolant system.
Each fountain would come with a motion sensor-activated dispenser sanitized by UV light; a ring of misters around the canopy, with a filter and pump; sprinklers activated by a security camera to reduce vandalism; motion-activated light for nighttime; solar panels; run-off water drains; a concrete bench; an inverter with a battery and condenser; a cold water tank; and a local artist mosaic installation.
The idea was accepted by the Phoenix Office of Innovation during a public challenge hosted earlier this month. 27 participants were divided into five teams to come up with a plan for providing chilled drinking water in public places.
As thanks for the idea, the city awarded the winning group $700 each — $3,500 total. The city also gave the second-place team a total of $1,500.
Chief Innovation Officer Michael Hammett said that the contest outcomes didn’t mean the city would definitely employ the winning idea, but didn’t dismiss the possibility outright.
One aspect that appeared to be missing from the city’s conversation on establishing more public water fountains was the water usage and potential waste. Arizona is experiencing a water crisis currently. One of the state’s primary water supplies, the Colorado River, sits in a Tier One drought status. The Department of the Interior cut back Arizona’s water usage further for this year.
As part of conservation efforts, the city of Phoenix is considering cuts to residents’ water allowance.
The city has also looked to alternative water resources to combat water usage limitations; the city finished installation of the Drought Pipeline Project in December.
Gallego and the city council are also planning the development of a water purification plant to recycle around 60 billion gallons of water a day. Arizona residents use an average of 146 gallons of water per day, per the Arizona Department of Water Resources.
At the state level, Arizona’s legislative leadership formed the Joint Legislative Study Committee on Water Security last week. The goal of the committee is to come up with more solutions on improving the state’s water security.