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PR- 301-10
July 4, 2010


New Fountains Located at Public Plazas, Greenmarkets and City Parks Until Labor Day

Free, Healthy, Sustainable Hydration Available to New Yorkers, Visitors and Pets

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today launched a new program to make New York City drinking water easily available at outdoor public locations and events throughout the city this summer. The program - Water-on-the-Go - begins today and will continue through Labor Day weekend, with the new fountains set-up in all five boroughs at public plazas, city parks, greenmarkets and special events. The new fountains are outdoor drinking water stations, connected to fire hydrants, with six faucets for direct drinking or for filling a water bottle. All fountains also feature separate bowls of water for pets. The locations are staffed by volunteers from Mayor Bloomberg's NYC Service program, GrowNYC - the sponsor of many of the city's Green Markets, participating Business Improvement Districts and City agency summer interns. The program makes the City's world-renowned drinking water easily available at high traffic locations, reducing the need for bottled water purchases, or purchases of less healthy and more costly soft drinks. Water-on-the-Go is a partnership between the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Transportation and NYC Service. The Mayor launched the program at a fountain in Downtown Brooklyn where he was joined by Department of Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe and dogs in need of new homes brought by Animal Care and Control of New York City.

"We've made unprecedented investments in maintaining and improving the system that delivers world-renowned drinking water every day to 8.4 million New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Our water is the healthiest, most affordable and most environmentally friendly way to stay hydrated. The Water-on-the-Go program will make it easier for New Yorkers - and their pets - to enjoy New York City water at many of the great public spaces and events the city has to offer this summer."

"New York City water is clean and tastes great because 7,000 miles of water mains, aqueducts and tunnels are fed by water that comes from pristine upstate watersheds that the City rigorously protects and maintains," said Commissioner Holloway. "Our water is the perfect summer beverage because it has no calories, it keeps you cool and, at approximately one penny per gallon, it is 1,000 times cheaper than bottled water. I would like to thank Commissioner Farley, Commissioner Sadik-Khan, Commissioner Benepe, Chief Service Officer Billings-Burford and all of our partners for helping us to provide Water-on-the-Go for the City that's always on the go."

"Parks is pleased to partner with the Department of Environmental Protection to reduce the City's carbon footprint and keep the city cleaner," said Commissioner Benepe. "This summer, you can stay cool by filling up your water bottle at many great events events and locations across the city. And using Water-on-the-Go means one less water bottle going into a landfill."

"Water is the best way to stay hydrated, especially during the hot summer months," said Health and Department of Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. "New York City tap water is a refreshing, affordable alternative to soda and other sugary beverages, and Water-on-the-Go fountains will make it even more accessible. The Health Department is proud to be a part of a partnership that helps make the healthier choice the easier choice."

"Checking out the city's unique sights and sounds just got more refreshing," said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. "As we work to build a greener, healthier city, amenities like access to drinking water make these signature public spaces even more inviting, enjoyable places for everyone."

"Volunteering to help the Water-on-the-Go program is a great way for New Yorkers to give back by using a little of their time to encourage community members to drink more water to stay healthy and hydrated in the hot summer months," said Chief Service Officer Diahann Billings-Burford.

"Water is the best sports drink, and City Parks Foundation is delighted to have Water-on-the-Go at selected sports and SummerStage events in parks all summer long," said David Rivel, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation.

A Water-on-the-Go fountain in Union Square:

The Department of Environmental Protection has 10 portable Water-on-the-Go fountains that can be easily hooked-up to fire hydrants around the city. Department of Environmental Protection staff will deliver, set up and disconnect the fountains at the beginning and end of each day and rotate locations according to the summer schedule.

Highlights of the 2010 Water-on-the-Go schedule include:

  • Tuesdays at the Brooklyn Borough Hall Greenmarket

  • Wednesdays at the Times Square Public Plaza

  • Thursdays at the West 175th Street and Broadway Greenmarket

  • Fridays at the Union Square Greenmarket

  • Saturdays at rotating events like select Weekend Walks in Staten Island, Sunnyside and the Bronx.

  • Sundays at rotating locations like Brooklyn Bridge Park.

To find a full, downloadable schedule of Water-on-the-Go locations, visit

New York City drinking water is world-renowned for its quality. The Department of Environmental Protection performs more than 900 tests daily, 27,000 monthly, and 330,000 on an annual basis from up to 1,000 sampling locations throughout New York City. This work is in addition to 230,000 tests performed in the watershed.

Benefits of drinking New York City drinking water:

  • Healthy: New York City drinking water contains zero calories, zero sugar and zero fat. A typical 12-ounce can of soda contains about 150 calo­ries and the equivalent of 10 tea­spoons of sugar. Sports drinks, which are marketed as healthy alternatives, have as many calories as sugary beverages and usually contain high levels of sodium.

  • Affordable: At approximately one penny per gallon, New York City water it is approximately 1,000 times less expensive than bottled water.

  • Sustainable: Production of plastic water bottles for use in the United States uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year - enough to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars all year. It takes more than three liters of water to produce each liter of bottled water.

The Transportation and Parks Departments have made New York City water the official water for several events throughout the summer, including Department of Transportation Weekend walks and the FlyNY Kite Festival. To promote drinking New York City water, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene helped produce a public service announcement to educate the public on where drinking water comes from and the benefits of drinking it.

Business Improvement Districts, Greenmarkets and various special events will play an important role in staffing the Water-on-the-Go fountains and coordinating the schedule. Participating Business Improvement Districts include: the Times Square Alliance, Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, Union Square Partnership, Dumbo Improvement District, Sunnyside Shines, Sunset Park, Staten Island Collaboration, the Brooklyn Bridge Development Corporation (at Brooklyn Bridge Park), and the City Parks Foundation with Summerstage.

The Water-on-the-Go program will build on Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to create new open space throughout the city, and to make existing public spaces more welcoming and attractive. Since 2002, the City has invested more than $1.3 billion to create open spaces, improve existing parkland and expand City parkland by 571 acres, as well as open plazas at in areas with a lack of public space. Water-on-the-Go will enhance these spaces, and offer a free, refreshing way to hydrate and cool off.

The Bloomberg Administration has made a larger commitment to maintaining and improving the City's water system than any administration in City history. More than $21 billion has been committed to water system capital projects, including:

  • $2.5 billion for the City's Third Water Tunnel - more funding for the tunnel than the previous five Administrations combined;

  • Acquisition of nearly 70,000 acres of land upstate to protect the City's watershed - New York City is one of only five large cities in the country to obtain the majority of its water from unfiltered sources; and

  • $5 billion for upgrading the City's 14 wastewater treatment plants and a nearly $1 billion commitment to reduce combined sewer overflows, which has helped bring harbor water quality to an all-time high since testing began 100 years ago and allowed wastewater treatment plants to meet the Federal Clean Water Act's secondary treatment standards for the first time ever.

Water is delivered to New York City from a watershed more than 125 miles from the City, and is comprised of 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs.


Stu Loeser/Marc La Vorgna   (212) 788-2958

Farrell Sklerov/Michael Saucier   (DEP)
(718) 595-6600

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