Refilling Water Fountains In The Friendly Skies

By Dr. Mark LeChevallier – June 18, 2014 – Comment

Can you think of the last time you used a water fountain and drank directly from the water stream? Chances are, you were probably carrying a disposable water bottle or (if you’re more environmentally conscious) a larger re-fillable bottle. Recently, standard water fountains have been making a transition from being a place for a brief direct sip, to becoming a resource for filling up re-useable water bottles.

Bottle filling stations are becoming the new standard; it’s something you may have seen at least once in your daily adventures, and refillable bottles are a convenient way to reduce waste and protect the environment. Like I’ve written about before, with bottle filling stations in schools, we could cut the 50 billion plastic water bottles that end up in landfills each year just by refilling plastic or glass reusable water bottles. But not only can it save the environment, it can save travelers money as well.

Monterey Regional Airport in California recently increased its water conservation efforts by installing two new bottle-filling stations (funded by California American Water) located on opposite ends of the facility. Serving 500 customers per day, both stations come equipped with the original drinking spouts and filtered refrigerated water.

We all know the headaches of air travel these days…where we can only pass through security with no shoes and a zippered baggie filled with only 4 oz. bottles of liquid sundries. Then, once we get through to the other side, water bottles cost an average of $4.00 per gallon, meaning it costs thousands more than drinking water from a reusable water bottle. Knowing that a refilling station is on the other side of the x-ray belt is at least a nice consolation that I won’t have to waste money or plastic before boarding.

High traffic areas like airports and schools are great places to start the large-scale transition towards this evolution in water fountains, matching the way we live today and the growing environmental mentality. I’m glad that I can now add Monterey Regional to the club of airports like Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, and San Francisco where I don’t have to gulp or waste water before continuing to travel.