America’s Best City Water, Free on Tap Near You in NYC

June 23, 2013 Updated: June 23, 2013

NEW YORK—You’ll be glad you got water on your new iPhone.

That is, now you can use a smartphone app to find clean water fountains sponsored by New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection. The project is called Water-on-the-Go.

This summer, you can find the bright blue tents labeled “NYC Water” with half a dozen spigots underneath. They will be at up to twelve rotating locations throughout the city this summer, starting June 21. The free iPhone and Android app shows where they will be on a particular day. (link)

“It’s a thousand times cheaper than bottled water. It’s healthy for you—zero calories,” said Carter Strickland, commissioner of the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). He was in City Hall Park on Friday morning promoting the Water-on-the-Go program to New Yorkers.

Unlike most US cities that use groundwater, New York gets its tap water from environmentally-protected reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains, 125 miles away. That is why New York consistently ranks as the having the best tap water of any large U.S. city.

The water in buildings with old pipes might seem to have a slightly metallic taste. But the water as pumped from the Catskills—a billion gallons daily through 7,000 miles of pipes, tunnels and aqueducts—is clear and pristine.

The DEP is giving away 1,000 free reusable bottles to encourage people to drink NYC water, and to minimize throwaway bottles.

Every year, Strickland said, it takes 1.5 million barrels of oil to manufacture plastic water bottles—most of which are only used once. And for every one ounce of drinking water that goes into commercially sold bottles, approximately two ounces are wasted.

“Bring around a reusable bottle,” said Strickland. “Fill it up at our stations, and you’ll be good to go.”

Last year, 500,000 drinkers used NYC’s free Water-on-the-Go fountains. This year, the city aims to have a million drinkers using them.