As part of a pilot project, the City of Edmonton has adapted five fire hydrants into water bottle filling stations.
Water taps have been attached to hydrants to keep vulnerable people safe during the hot weather, a city spokesperson told Global News.
It’s part of the city’s Extreme Weather Response.
The water stations were made available on July 14 and are available until Oct. 31 at five sites:
- Giovanni Caboto Park (109 Avenue at 94 Street NW, east side)
- Michael Phair Park (104 Street, north of Jasper Avenue)
- Parkdale Square shopping complex (118 Avenue, east of 82 Street)
- Butler Memorial Park (100a Avenue, east of 158 Street)
- Strathcona Farmers’ Market (83 Avenue, east of 104 Street)
Anyone can fill up their water bottle at one of the five water stations.
“The city looked at several options to increase availability of water to vulnerable people as part of the Extreme Weather Response,” a city spokesperson explained.
“Several other Canadian cities including Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal have adapted fire hydrants as water fountains.”
If the pilot goes well, Edmonton plans to expand it to other locations.
“This specific intervention with the hose is designed for the summer months, but in general we’re looking more broadly at infrastructure that the City of Edmonton has to provide drinking water all year-round,” said Christel Kjenner, director of affordable housing and homelessness.
The water — provided and tested regularly by EPCOR — and is safe to drink, the city said.
“We’ve seen these very warm temperatures, periods of sustained heat, where it’s very easy for people who don’t have regular access to indoor spaces — they don’t have a home of their own or have access to running water — they’re not able to refresh themselves and dehydration can be a really significant risk,” Kjenner added.
The pandemic also closed a lot of public spaces that would have normally been open and available.
“This is, I think, a positive benefit that’s come out of some challenges consequences,” Kjenner said.
“It’s a new service that we’ll hopefully be able to provide all vulnerable Edmontonians going forward even beyond the pandemic.”
Edmontonians who need a break from the heat can go to any open city facility or library.
Peace officers continue to carry water bottles for distribution to vulnerable people they meet.