The CIVIQ team give their top tips to selecting the perfect drinking water station for public spaces.
Choosing a drinking water station that suits your needs is easy if you follow our top tips. Here are some guiding points that will get you thinking about the best model for you.
Firstly, consider where the water station will be placed and who will be using it. If it is located in a public space, the water station will need to be available and visible to all members of the public.
The classic model is the basic drinking fountain, which requires only simple plumbing. It is great for places such as schools and kindergartens, where a quick drink of water is available for those ‘on the go’.
A combined drinking fountain and bottle refill station is a convenient way to provide an instant ‘pick me up’ and provide the option to fill up your own bottle to take away for later. This model is ideal for sports and recreation centres.
If you then add a drinking bowl for the family dog, this special pet-friendly version provides a great service for dog walkers in parks, on the beach and in other public areas.
The most sophisticated model, the Flexishower with Drinking Fountain, incorporates a shower facility, which is great for the beach. This top of the range water station is the ultimate in water hub technology and offers an extra facility to the public enjoying the coast.
Outdoor versus indoor
There is a range of models suitable for outdoor use in the Aquafil range. These are made of robust materials such as stainless steel & marine grade aluminium. These models have a long service life and are designed to be vandal proof. They are also designed to be visually prominent, making them easy to spot in a public space. Ideally, they might be installed in a sheltered outdoor area, but they are designed to withstand the wind and weather of the harsh Australian climate.
Indoor models are suitable for gyms, sports clubs, and schools, where they can be installed in a location convenient for their users, but can also be locked inside safely when not required. The Elkay range of indoor water stations tends to be more compact than their outdoor equivalents.
Chilled or non-chilled
Not everyone likes their water cold, but chilled water is very refreshing on a hot day in Australia or during a hard work-out at the gym. The chilling component does incur an additional installation fee for select products and it also requires an electrical connection. The two models Elkay EZH20 and Elkay Easy Touch are two of the most popular chilled water stations for schools and gyms, which come chilled as standard.
Filtered or unfiltered
Many water station models come with filters as standard, but when deciding whether to have filtered water or not, first check the quality and taste of the water in your area. Some tap water has a bad taste and filtering it provides a much more acceptable product.
Filters only need to be replaced every 6 months (typically) and the units come with filter replacement instructions. CIVIQ can also offer maintenance packages in some areas.
If you live in an area where the water quality is good, filtration may not be a necessary supplement to the water station.
Permanent versus portable
A permanent water station requires one-off installation and soon becomes a fixed part of the landscape, accessible by anyone requiring a drink.
A portable water station from the Aquafil portable range is a popular solution for events or a supplementary option for busy times. The super robust and weather resistant portable range is ideal for outdoor use.
CIVIQ recently worked on a project to supply portable drinking stations to the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Freestanding or wall-mounted
A freestanding unit has greater prominence and can be installed in open areas. The most popular design is the freestanding Aquafil FlexiFountain. It is strong and vandal-resistant and signage graphics can be customised on the outer panels.
A wall- mounted drink station is more discreet and can be tied in with the interior space or architecture of the building. Plumbing can be concealed in the wall and each unit can be installed at a lower height in primary schools or kindergartens.
Depending on its position, your water station will need to be accessible by a wide range of users. The Pulse Senior 1400BF is a dual height fountain. The lower height fountain is easy to reach for younger children and soft mouthguards on the drinking bubbler protect children’s teeth.
The dual height fountain is also accessible for wheelchair users and complies with the Disability Discrimination Act guidelines. This water station is also user-friendly for those with vision impairment, as it features button icons and highly visible product features and graphics.
Whatever your style, this can be incorporated into the artwork – whether it be flamboyant and colourful or more restrained, branded or plain.
Bright and vibrant colours and graphics result in a more visible product. The Hydrobank is popular for schools and can be installed with the school colours on the end panels.
Branding and company colours are also an option on the Aquafil FlexiFountain.
A more understated style with simple, yet sleek stainless steel finish is a more elegant option, especially if your water station needs to blend into the architecture and not be a stand-out feature. See the Elkay SwirlFlo Bi-level Fountain with Integral EZH2O Bottle Filling Station.
Vandal resistant designs
Elkay’s ‘Vandal Resistant’ range of water stations is ideal for outdoor areas, such as the public transport sector, where the unit may be exposed twenty-four hours a day. It is made up of ultra-strong materials, and hard wearing mechanical buttons.
The popular Hydrobank is recommended for high foot traffic areas such as recreation centres, due to its extra-large design featuring three drinking fountain bubblers and three bottle refill nozzles per unit.
For areas which have a high usage rate, such as schools, a variety of different water units is recommended. A mix of indoor and outdoor models could be placed in different locations to serve a variety of needs.
If you need to monitor usage rates the Elkay EZH2O Auto-Sensor In-Wall
has a water meter installed that measures the number of litres used and the number of bottle refills performed. The monitor is located behind the front cover.
Many of the Aquafil range also allows for in-built water meters as an option. Please speak to our sales staff to learn more.
Including a dog drinking bowl is a great way to make your Aquafil drinking water station pet-friendly. There is a range of styles to choose from, although our most popular is the side-mounted swinging dog bowl!
A coastal setting demands a strong, vandal and weather, resistant model. The FlexiFountain is a popular choice for beaches as it is ideal for sandy sites and incorporates a range of drainage options.
It is constructed of marine grade aluminium and electro-polished stainless steel, which prevents corrosion and ‘tea-stain’ blemishes. It is also vandal resistant.
Our drinking water stations feature different drainage systems, making them sustainable for different applications. The FlexiFountain has external drainage, which connects to the stormwater drain. The Aquafil Pulse has internal drainage and can be connected to either the stormwater or sewerage systems.
FlexiFountain & Bold models also have the option of no drainage and can be bolted down. The water runs off straight into the ground, which offers a simpler and more economical option.
Most Elkay products are connected via internal drainage as part of the internal building infrastructure.
What’s your budget?
Last but not least, affordability may be a factor in your choice of water station. Model costs range from $1,214 for the Elkay EZH20 Mechanical Surface Mount base unit to $8920 for the Elkay SwirlFlo Bi-level Fountain with Integral EZH2O Bottle Filling Station base unit. The additional options of filtration, chilling, water meter and an additional drinking fountain style attract additional costs.
The Aquafil models cost from $1740 for the Aquafil Solo 700BF base unit to $6901 for the Aquafil FlexiFountain 2100BFF base unit. Additional features such as plumbing, filtration, signage, drainage, a swing dog bowl, thermal protection, service tap, chiller, drinking fountain style and wheelchair-accessible basin attract additional costs.
Whatever your budget and requirements CIVIQ can provide a water station that will meet your demands. Now that you have read our 15 point guide, you may like to explore our full range of water stations and contact a CIVIQ representative to discuss your needs further.