WeTap is incredibly proud and honored to have consulted with young students to help them focus on solutions to our mistrust in the tap and in the safety of drinking fountains. While we are incredibly lucky to have safe and reliable drinking water in the US, we still need to harness our creative energies to demonstrate solutions to building trust in our drinking fountains. I hope one day to drink from their “beautiful design” and thoughtful “friendly fountain”. Don’t you?
Who are we?
Hello, we’re three fifth grade girls from Massachusetts. We are competing in the First Lego League Robotics Challenge and this year’s theme is HydroDynamics. As part of the challenge, we are tasked with discovering and researching a problem in the human water cycle and creating an innovative solution.
What is the problem we decided to learn about?
The problem that we decided to learn about is that people don’t trust water fountains anymore. Most people are afraid of either germs from the fountain itself or of the water being contaminated. Kids may put their mouths on the mouthpiece and the buttons and handles may have germs from other people’s hands on them. Also advertisement campaigns from bottled water companies have tried to convince people that water fountains were bad for you and bottled water was safe. Many people believe them.
It’s bad that people don’t trust water fountains. If they buy bottled water they’re spending a lot of money and polluting the earth. Did you know that it takes three times the amount of water inside a bottle to manufacture the bottle (source: www.banthebottle.net)? Also instead of drinking bottled water people often choose unhealthy drinks.
How did we learn about this problem?
We brainstormed questions like why people weren’t using water fountains anymore and came up with even more questions and answers as we went. We also read lots and lots of articles made by people who either supported the idea of water fountains or thought that they were disgusting and shouldn’t be used. To get even more data we consulted some experts. One of them was Ms. Wendel, founder of WeTap.
What is our solution?
Our solution to this problem was to design a new water fountain. We’ve decided to name it “The Friendly Fountain” so it would appeal to everyone. Our water fountain features a water bottle filler for people who carry water bottles and a screen that tells you when the fountain was last cleaned and where the water comes from. Workers can update this information by passcode. This water fountain also has a foot pedal so no one touches it with dirty hands, beautiful designs for a more “friendly” look, and a V-shaped bowl with a long drain so water (and germs) don’t pool up. Finally, our Friendly Fountain features a hidden spigot so there is no mouthpiece to carry germs. The water simply travels in an angled pipe and pushes up against a hole in the side of the fountain, until someone pushes the foot pedal to open the hole. Then the water is released in an arc.
We hope this is a water fountain that is people will like and use and not be afraid of. What do you think?