In the past, fountains played a fundamental role in the supply of drinking water to the inhabitants of villages. They were the main sources for the villagers and were sometimes used as watering places for cattle. They were also used for domestic purposes and were used for washing clothes and dishes. They were thus an important place for socialising.
Although they guarantee a constant renewal of water in the network and allow hikers to fill up their water bottles, the fountains nowadays have no more than an ornamental function for the residents.
The municipality of Val de Bagnes currently has 161 fountains on its territory. Most of them distribute drinking water that is ready for consumption. Their flow rate is generally estimated at between 10 and 30 l/minute, depending on the different models and locations of the fountains. The operating costs of a fountain are mainly due to cleaning and replacement of defective parts. This is estimated at around CHF 500 for about ten hours of work per year for the fountain operator.
This cost may seem high if it only serves to fill the water bottles of a few people! The challenge is therefore to try to update and redefine the function of the fountains and to propose new uses for them.
In addition, and in anticipation of future water shortages, how can we best use this resource that is destined to become scarce? Is it still relevant to let it flow as it is in all fountains? Isn’t it almost a useless waste and wouldn’t there be better things to do?
So how can these fountains be upgraded and given back some of their grandeur? What new use could be imagined for them? How can they finally be brought into the 21e century?
The proposed solution may well play with the flow rate depending on the needs and the context (e.g. a drought).
Note: Take into account the land use guidelines -> a covered fountain is considered a building and no construction is allowed outside the building zones, unless the object has an agricultural function.