Playground Drinking Fountains

Playground drinking fountains in 17 local government areas: survey methods and results

Authors George Thomson and Nick Wilson


Appropriate public access to water is an increasing concern, and to further explore field observation methods for assessing such access, we aimed to survey drinking fountains in playgrounds across many local government areas. We systematically collected data (including photographs) of drinking fountains in randomly selected public playgrounds in 17 local government areas (TLAs) in New Zealand. The time for playground surveys was always less than 15 minutes. We found only one of the 17 TLAs had working drinking fountains in all the playgrounds sampled, and 11 working fountains in all 54 playgrounds (20%). Three had metal discolouration within 1cm of the nozzle. The systematic observation method was relatively quick, making it suitable for local officials and health promoters.