What is a Water Fountain?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2019
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Water fountains are devices that provide a supply of steady stream of drinking water. Fountains of this type usually are equipped with a basin that is outfitted with a drain, providing a means of any water not consumed to be returned to the existing water system. While the water fountain is most commonly associated with schools or offices, different models are available that are perfect for use in other settings.

One of the more common designs for a water fountain is a simple free standing metal body that is equipped with a stainless steel basin and water jet. The flow of water is activated and controlled by a push button or a knob that can be turned to adjust the flow as needed. This simple design often houses a cooling system in the body that chills the water as it passes through the plumbing system and is expelled through the jet.

Along with free standing designs, a wall mounted water fountain is often the preferred choice in more contemporary buildings. As with the free standing models, the wall mounted water fountain also includes a cooling system, water jet, and basin equipped with a drain. An advantage of wall models is that it is possible to install two units at different heights in the same general area. This makes drinking from the fountains more convenient for children as well as adults.


While many people are familiar with the indoor water fountain, the device is also utilized out of doors as well. Many parks, beaches, and other outdoor venues will have an outdoor water fountain installed at strategic points throughout the area. Often, the shell for the fountain is something that blends in well with the surrounding landscape, such as a combination of gravel, stones or shells held together with concrete.

A garden water fountain often sports a more ornate design. While still utilizing the same basic mechanisms, the garden fountain may provide a constant flow of water that does not require activation by pressing a button or turning a knob. Instead the water flows freely out of the jet and into the basin. The water can be consumed by leaning over the fountain to drink, or the water can be captured in a cup or glass.

While more traditional fountains are powered with electricity, there are now solar water fountain models available. These require a connection to a battery system that is fed by solar energy and are capable of cooling the water with the same efficiency as models that make use of wall current. A solar fountain may be free standing or wall mounted. There are even companies that market a tabletop water fountain that can be stored away when not in active use.


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