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Montreal hydrants turn into water fountains

Montreal teamed with design experts on a low-cost technology that enables fire hydrants to double as public drinking fountains. (Bornéo/Omar Abad Ostojic)

Montreal has retrofitted two fire hydrants with a device that enables them to also serve as public drinking fountains, Jonathan Andrews reports for Cities Today.

The Association of Industrial Designers of Quebec developed the innovation as a way to make city water more accessible without incurring substantial construction costs. The hydrant-fountains also are intended to cut down on reliance of bottled water that uses plastic packaging.

Three more hydrants are slated for retrofits. The hydrants can still be used by emergency crews to douse fires. Among the unforeseen benefits: homeless and elderly residents have made considerable use of the fountains, the article says. Other cities already have expressed interest in the valve technology, known as the Bornéo system.

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