NYC’s Department of Environmental Protection Flogs Its Own Drinking Water


“Would you like a drink of water,” he seems to be saying, “out of this thing that looks like a urinal?”

One of the odder sights at the farmers’ markets this summer has been the impromptu water station — featuring good old NYC tap water — that has appeared sporadically among the stalls selling fresh fruits and vegetables.

According to the website, there are 10 of these “Water-on-the-Go” fountains, as they were officially called, sponsored jointly by the DEP and Aveda, a company founded in 1978 by Horst Rechelbacher to make ayurvedic cosmetic products after he returned from a trip to India. The company was purchased by Estée Lauder in 1997 and maintains an academy of cosmetology in New York. It is one of the prime advocates for the pseudoscience of aromatherapy.

The promotion was first launched during Fashion Week 2010, for the ostensible purpose of encouraging fashionistas to throw away their bottled waters in favor of New York tap water, and bottles inscribed with the NYC Water logo — which looks like it might have been designed by Aveda — were provided to facilitate this purpose. Now, sadly, the bottles are gone, but you can get a cool drink anyway at one of the six fountains, or fill your own bottle at the tap.

Mmmm, free water on a hot day.

This is where the water comes from.