When The Fountain Runs Dry

I pass a certain roundabout every morning when I drive to work. I never really pay much attention to the fountain in the center, but this morning it struck me as odd. I’ve been driving up and down this road for more than six months, and I have never seen this fountain work. There is another roundabout and fountain just up the road, less than a quarter-mile away, and it is always running. So today a few of my co-workers …

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4 comments on “When The Fountain Runs Dry

  1. Renee' on said:

    There needs to be a kit that goes with every fountain with a cistern that can be buried nearby to capture rain water, filter it and refill the fountain reservoir automatically. And, maybe a sprinkler system to water the landscape surrounding the fountain. That would be a responsible water feature.

  2. Tim May on said:

    Most recently, I was involved in a similar project – a roundabout with a water feature – that saw the client reconsider and look for an alternative design (before it ever was constructed). When discussed in more detail, we expressed our opinion that the long term and on-going maintenance of such a feature would become a nagging liability.

    Rarely do we specify water features in projects geared more towards addressing non-pedestrian needs. Water features may be appropriate for more intimate pedestrian areas – plazas, patios, courtyards, restaurants, residential – and locations where vandalism and mischief are expected to be less opportune (thus lessening the “suds in the bucket” temptation). It is these applications where we start “playing in the water”.

    Depending on the effect, fountains can be wasteful with water. That waste may be insignificant in volume, but indeed wasteful nonetheless. As we’ve experienced a movement towards water-conservation in irrigation design, I think too we will see fewer and fewer clients asking for water features. Not only because of the cost of construction and maintenance of a fountain, clients may also elected not to build and instead wish to communicate a stewardship responsibility with a natural resource, one that rationing is becoming more commonplace regardless of the political climate-change arguments in today’s society .

    • Boyd Coleman on said:

      Very well said Tim! I too agree that water features in non-pedestrian spaces should be carefully considered. There are so many other “sustainable” choices that we can utilize in our designs.

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