Water fountains are in just 5pc of Auckland’s parks
Health concerns have been raised about a scarcity of drinking fountains in Auckland’s parks.
Auckland Council’s head of operational management Agnes McCormack said only 183, or 5 per cent, of Auckland’s 3695 parks had drinking fountains.
And of the 817 parks with playgrounds, only 16 per cent had drinking fountains within the vicinity, McCormack said.
A study by the University of Otago found that drinking fountains were also scarce in Wellington’s parks and playgrounds. The study found only 6 per cent of children’s playgrounds and 29 per cent of Wellington city’s parks from 10 of the largest suburbs had drinking fountains.
Drinking fountains could help address New Zealand’s obesity epidemic, encouraged fitness such as dog walking and reduce the risk of heat stroke, the study said.
The researchers, public health professor Nick Wilson, associate professor Louise Signal and associate research professor George Thomson, found that discolouration around Wellington fountains’ spouts was fairly common and could ‘‘discourage some people from using the fountains’’.
‘‘Ratepayers deserve a better deal than that sort of grungy mess around a nozzle,’’ Wilson said.
Across the board, the number of drinking fountains was ‘‘way too low,’’ Wilson said.
Wilson said councils needed to start lifting their game.
Auckland was also warmer than Wellington which meant it was at a higher risk of heat wave occurrence, Wilson said.
‘‘From a public health perspective, it’s a problem around New Zealand that local councils need to get their heads around.’’
Lee Beattie from the University of Auckland’s school of architecture and planning said public amenities in parks were important
‘‘More water fountains will encourage kids and adults to drink more water as it will be easier to access.’’
especially as intensification increased in Auckland.
‘‘These parks and open spaces and beaches become extensions to your house and become your backyard,’’ Beattie said.
Auckland resident Rachel Goldstine said the city ‘‘definitely’’ needed more drinking fountains in public places such as parks, playgrounds and beaches.
‘‘More water fountains will encourage kids and adults to drink more water as it will be easier to access,’’ Goldstine said.
Auckland resident Rachel Goldstine says having more fountains would bring more people to parks, playgrounds and beaches.