Dry fountains are more and more common in urban public spaces, filling them with attractive and fun. The concept ‘dry fountain’ may seem a contradiction – it is difficult to picture a waterless fountain unless it is broken down or neglected. Though, there is a type of fountains known as ‘dry’. These fountains do not have a visible pond to collect the water: the tank is located under the pavement. The water jets emerge from this underground tank and rise directly over the floor. When the fountains are not operational, the floor is dry – hence their name. If dry fountains allow the interaction with the bystanders, then they are called interactive dry fountains. Read MoreRead More
Dry fountains are commonly found in outdoor places and they are mostly created through state initiative. We can see them in public squares, parks and common areas where they refresh the atmosphere and let the people play with the water. The resistance of the pavement where they are installed must be accurately calculated in order to stand the traffic of people or even vehicles (for instance, to enable the passage of ambulances or public services). On the other hand, in these fountains the contact between people and water is constant, so the water quality is especially relevant. It is essential that they include a specific water treatment system.
Types of dry fountain installation
Dry fountain works with the water collected and flowing under the pavement. There are different types of water flow and feeding systems:
- Individual pits: Composed of a matrix of pits connected to one another by a pipeline network. Over each pit there is a floor tile with a grid in the center, usually small in size (30 x 30 cm). These fountains require a more complicated maintenance than the others.
- Canals: This system is composed of a set of canals, connected to one another and with a sole water level, from which water jets emerge. The canals are fed and communicated by a pipeline network located under them. Lights, wiring and other devices are also installed underground. The whole canal network is covered by tiles, strong and wide enough as to make the traffic of people and/or vehicles easy – there must be a space of 1.20-1.50 meters between them so people can walk without getting wet. This system presents an easy and practical maintenance.
- Open tank: In this case, water is collected in a big open tank or pond located under the pavement. The pavement over the tank is supported by a structure composed of thick strong pillars whose height can be regulated. Each pillar supports a maximum of four tiles. This system is extremely easy to maintain and install – being a practicable pavement, in order to reach the different underground devices the operator will only have to remove the tiles.
- Auxiliary tank: Water is collected and fed from an underground tank located near the dry fountain. A pump and a series of pipes connected to the tank feed the water jets. Water returns to the tank through a gravity-fed return pipeline: the pipes must be slightly sloped and have an important cross-section in order to achieve low water-flow speeds. This system can be combined with the first two ones (individual pits and canals) to create more efficient fountains.
Some types of dry fountains are designed to allow the interaction between bystanders and water features, and in some cases, with light and sound effects. When this happens they are called interactive dry fountains. They are playful installations that increase the possibilities of public spaces, encouraging the communication between the people and their background. These fountains’ design and conception are similar to those of dry fountains, but they also include some devices that let people control the different options.
Hand and foot buttons
For instance, an interactive dry fountain can include a floor platform with rubber foot buttons. Each button bears a sensor that controls a function. By stepping on them, the user will be able to add or remove lights, change the color of the water or control the height of the jets, among other options. The fountain can also be equipped with hand buttons mounted on a medium-height console. The sensor included in each button will send a signal to the fountain’s electrical box; the box will interpret the signal and will start the corresponding function.
The control panel can be installed in different places. If the fountain has a technical room then it will be there, together with the filtration equipment and the pump. It can also be located outdoors, properly concealed behind hedges or other natural elements (plants, bushes, rocks, etc.).
Playing with music
Interactive dry fountains are particularly suitable to include music. The recorded musical compositions are emitted from loudspeakers located around the fountain, normally attached to existing elements (street lamps, posts…). They can also be attached to posts installed for the purpose, always at a height of 3.5-4 meters. Through hand or foot buttons, musical interactive fountains enable bystanders to play with the different features.
Water, music and lights – three wonderful elements perfect to shine in every urban space. Enjoyment, beauty and originality are guaranteed by all the possibilities provided by dry fountains and interactive fountains.
- In these fountains, it is particularly important the installation of a water treatment system, which ensures that the water channel / pond is always in optimal conditions
- They are offered with the possibility of musical fountain, installing a serie of speakers distributed around the fountain.
- The electric switchboard in such fountains, it is commonly found outdoors, somewhere close to the fountain, or in a technical room, sharing location with dry filtration equipment and pumps, in case there are.