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November 10, 2010

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City taps into Expo fountains

SIX drinking fountains from the World Expo will be moved to People's Square as the city continues to find uses for facilities from the fair.

However, some residents said they would be reluctant to drink from them and a Shanghai Water Authority official confirmed that the plan faces obstacles.

The official said video cameras need to be installed and patrol teams arranged to ensure water safety and prevent vandalism.

The 117 fountains at the Expo site were widely praised by visitors because of the convenience they offered and since fewer plastic bottles were used. According to a Tongji University survey in October, more than 70 percent of visitors hoped the drinking fountains could be used after the Expo.

However, some people said they would not use the fountains unless strict safety measures were in place.

"Unless I was extremely thirsty and had no other choice, I would not use the fountain," said Chen Guan, whose office is near People's Square.

He said some people might press their lips or mouth on it or wash their hands in the fountain.

Resident Jiang Fan said he would wait for a while and only use it if many others had done so for a long time.

The water for the drinking fountains will be supplied from Nanshi Water Plant, the same as during the Expo, said a Shanghai Water Authority official who declined to be identified.

He said there will be some concerns, including ensuring the pipes are clean for the fountains at People's Square. The water pipeline at the Expo was newly built for the event.

Moreover, if few people used the fountains at the square, some workers will need to release the water to avoid it from going stale in the machine, he added.

He said water safety checks and routine disinfections will also need to be done.

Zhu Junxiang, a spokesperson of the manufacturer of the fountains, suggested installing cameras at each machine and hiring workers to prevent people from polluting the water or damaging the machines.

Six fountains will remain in the China Pavilion, which reopens on December 1, officials said.


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