Dear PoP – “Why is this water fountain broken? Maybe the concession stand next to it?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Wayan Vota

“Dear PoP,

See this water fountain in the shadow of the Washington Monument – why is it consistently broken? Could it be that the fountain is also in the shadow of the National Park Service snack and drink stand?”

I’m all for conspiracy theories but I gotta think the water fountain is just broken. Or am I being too naive? Have you guys noticed whether or not most water fountains work in the Park System? I feel like most of the ones I’ve tried to use are broken regardless if they are near a concession stand or not. It def. is frustrating though…

14 Comment

  • Really? Conspiracy – come on.

    Maybe the fact that most everyone is fool enough to pay upwards of $3 dollars for bottled water makes this less of a priority for NPS.

    • ah

      Is the snack stand even run by NPS? Isn’t it run by a concessionaire who pays the NPS some amount of money to run it, and then keeps the profits for themselves? In other words, either no incentive for NPS to keep the water fountain inoperable, or a much deeper conspiracy involving kickbacks and graft that run to the highest levels of the Dept. of the Interior.

  • Perhaps because it is likely one of the most used and abused water fountains in DC.

  • I run by here almost daily, and find that if you hit (really, slap) the button hard enough, it’ll come on. In fact, all the ones like that pretty much that well.

    • It’s not how hard you press the button, it’s how long you hold it. It’s an anti-freeze design to allow year-round use. The part of the water supply line above ground is kept empty while not in use so it doesn’t freeze up in winter. When you press the button the water has to travel up that line before it reaches the spout, and that takes a couple seconds. Then again, quite a few of the fountains truly are just broken.

  • yep. as cactus jack says – the fountains on the Mall tend not to give water until the button has been pressed for 2 or 3 seconds. Why? Dunno. in my experience they just lurk like they’re broken.

  • This style of fountain has an anti-freeze feature and the button has to be pressed hard and held in several seconds before water comes out. (But it might also be broken.)

    • Is there an echo in here?

      Anyway, this is the sort of fountain that has an anti-freeze function. You have to hold down the button for 2-3 seconds before the water comes out. It might be broken, though.

    • Victoria is correct. This is likely one of the all weather fountains in DC parks. You have to press the button and hold for about 10 seconds. The water is pumped from below ground level, I believe. It’s an annoyance in the summer, but gives you water in the winter. Otherwise, the fountains would likely be unusable. That you press a few times is irrelevant. If you notice that it comes quickly after you push the button, chances are someone used it a few minutes before you.

  • Not sure about that one in particular but I run down around the mall a lot and all the fountains I’ve tried there have been working as far as I recall.

    Ditto all the comments about the ant-freeze mechanism and having to hold the button for a few seconds before water comes out.

    • Yet another echo here. I run on the mall most every day, and there are very few non-functioning water fountains. The one by the WWII memorial has been broken off and on all summer, and the park service has been working on it regularly. No conspiracy, as most tourists assume that DC water is “dirty” and prefer to buy overpriced water from the vendors.

      • I’ve long been amused with the way some tourists seem to harbor a certain disgust for Washington DC and its people, yet they still part with their money happily to visit here.

  • Isn’t it because Warshington is broke and needs fixin’, you betcha?

  • This is good to know — anti-freeze. Tho, I really don’t get the “echo”. I have a dog and I’ve never found a functioning water fountain in the city. I’ll try holding the button longer next time. I thought maybe the city was trying to conserve money.

Comments are closed.