Lonely Planet Writer

Chilled drinking water to be supplied free in Berlin to curb plastic use

If you’re visiting Berlin and want to keep hydrated, it won’t cost you anything to obtain water from one of approximately 100 additional public drinking fountains that will be installed there by the end of 2019. There are around 50 fountains already in place in the city, and Berliner Wasserbetriebe, the city’s water utility, recently announced that the chilled water will be available in many more public places from May to October each year.

The first of 100 new drinking fountains in Berlin. Image: Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Berlin Senate allocated €1m (US$1.17 million) to the water services company to increase the number of drinking fountains in the German capital, and it is estimated that this will be enough for around 100 of them. The city became part of the Blue Community, an initiative that is committed to treating water as a human right and not as a commodity, back in March, and its leaders are hoping that plastic waste will be reduced as a positive consequence of introducing the fountains. It is an environmentally-friendly choice, they say, because it avoids the production of plastic and transport costs, and the fountains are directly connected to the Berlin water supply.

There will be 100 new drinking fountains placed in Berlin. Image: Bernd von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images

This is a welcome move as Germans are among the world’s top five consumers of bottled water, and come first for sparkling water. Germans drink on average two-to-three litres of naturally carbonated spring water per week. Reducing plastic use is a global ambition as one million plastic bottles are bought worldwide every minute and most end up in landfills or the ocean. It is hoped that the new fountains will help to address the problem, and by way of ensuring that they are maintained to a high standard, the city will clean the fountains every two weeks and test their water quality monthly.