Paris City Hall has just announced an ambitious and luxurious scheme to install at least one fountain of sparkling water in every one of Paris’ 20 arrondissements. There has already been a small cluster of fountains dispensing fresh sparkling water in Paris free of charge, a network first set up in 2010. But until now, there were only eight of these fountains – now set to spill out to every corner of the capital.
While this news may seem surprising to some, France is actually the eighth largest consumer of bottled water in the world, according to figures from the Earth Policy Institute. The average French person drinks 28 gallons (128 litres) of still or sparkling water a year – and given that the consumption of fountain-dispensed water has numerous benefits for the environment over independently purchased bottled water, this city-wide initiative seems only logical. Sparkling water fountains are already a common feature in Italy.
Inaugurated in the Jardin de Reuilly, southeast Paris, the fountain has been named La Pétillante (she who sparkles). It has been installed at the hefty price of €75,000 (£63,500), but will be available free whenever the Jardin is open – which, in high summer, is 8am to 9:30pm.
‘Our aim is to boost the image of Paris tap water,’ said Philippe Burguiere of Eau de Paris, the capital’s public water supplier, reported in The Guardian. ‘We want to show that we’re proud of it, that it’s totally safe.’