Where Could Public Water Taps Go in Jamaica Plain?

Public bubblers, fountains and filling stations could decrease plastic bottle use and improve health—but where should they go?


"Water, water everywhere, so let's all have a drink," District 6 Boston City Councilor Matt O'Malley said, citing the poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, during Wednesday's City Council meeting.

O’Malley wants to bring more water bubblers, water fountains and water filling stations to Boston neighborhoods. He pointed to San Francisco which in 2010 installed "tap stations” allowing residents to fill reusable water containers "in a clean and sanitary way." At the stations, people could reuse their own containers rather than purchase single-use bottled water.

"Every runner, walker, parent knows park routes, and knows where the iconic bubblers are," O'Malley said.

He said he runs at Jamaica Pond because he knows the water fountain at the boat house is open eight months a year.

O'Malley said it's a shame that people worry so much about germs when it comes to public water taps, saying that Boston has some of the healthiest and safest water in the country. He added that water bottling companies actually bottle and sell Boston tap water.

District 2 Councilor Bill Linehan liked the idea, saying he has run many a mile through the years in Boston, and spots to get drinking water are rare.

According to environmental watchdog organizations Environmental Working Group and Corporate Accountability International, Boston’s tap water is some of the cleanest, safest water in the nation. 

But Masssachusetts residents are using a lot of water and plastic:

  • Massachusetts residents drink more than 300 million gallons in a year.
  • Massachusetts is sixth in the U.S. in overall water consumption. 
  • Less than 20 percent of those bottles are recycled, with the rest ending in landfills or as litter. 
  • The Pacific Institute reported bottled water is up to 2,000 times more energy intensive to produce than the region’s tap water.

So where would you like to see water bubblers, water fountains or filling stations in your neighborhood? Let us know below. 

Terry Mason November 30, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I don't know if Franklin Park would be feasible, but there are a number of places where walkers, runners, bikers, and in summer ball players could use water. By the playing field, near the zoo, on Schoolmaster Hill, and on both sides of the park--JP and Roxbury/Dorchester. Also on along the Southwest Corridor Park. Centre Street, though not sure where.
Michael November 30, 2012 at 02:53 PM
It makes sense to have water bubblers sited at any park entrance, and at places like ball fields and other physical activity destination/ congregation points. As mentioned, a good example is the fountain at the Boathouse. There is another at the Perkins/ Jamaicaway entrance which I have used many times riding home from Allston after cresting Perkins onto the Pond path. Another might be at the backside of the Pond at Chestnut and Perkins by the BPD call box. While this is certainly laudable, there are tens of dozens of points metro-wide that this makes sense. However, this as a major infrastructure challenge in a time of fiscal restraint. But if not now, when? One could argue this is almost a moral issue. Water from Fiji? There's something profoundly wrong with that. Perhaps there might be a tax, or BWSC credit for businesses signing on to provide “H2O filling stations” by plumbing public bubblers on their property facades?
fp November 30, 2012 at 03:01 PM
in post office .open 24-7 and indoors for winter .and at fire station (a healthy alternative to coke machine) and at south st carolina park 3 seasions unless heated.
Rich P November 30, 2012 at 04:06 PM
BRILLIANT IDEA COUNCILOR O'MALLEY!! [ Always coming up with pragmatic responses to our issues. SO glad he is our councilor} I'd start with T stations! I'm always surprised that there are NOT water bubblers at T stops! I'd also add them at 'strategic' points on major roads, major intersections with some type of little plaza for example, major tourist sites. Canary Sq comes to mind as there are so many pedestrians criss/crossing from the stonybrook T, the buses and connecting to the pond for activities, or strolling down centre to either Hyde sq, or JP center. ( I think they can tap off the water mains anywhere )
Andrew November 30, 2012 at 04:53 PM
You could put one in front of Curtis Hall off Centre St. Also, I believe the Rime of the Ancient Mariner reference says: "water, water everywhere nor any drop to drink." He's surrounded by the ocean-- salt water-- and yet ironically is dying of thirst. Not sure how that fits into the councilor's message, but I think it's a great initiative!
Sandra Stark December 02, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I also vote for Franklin Park by White Stadium and the basketball courts. Lots of thirsty athletes and dog walkers. The bike path along the Orange Line and in front of the fire house on Centre Street. Also at Orange Line T-stops. Thank you!
yogasong December 03, 2012 at 12:05 PM
At the entrance of the Arboretum too.


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