March 20, 2008

Water

Water supply is of course an issue for a big city.

Paris, within the city limits and not counting the suburbs, is actually not that big in surface and has hardly more than 2 million inhabitants. It becomes really big only when you include the suburbs.

Anyhow the city consumes something like 500 000 m3 (= some130 000 US gallons) of drinking water per day, which if I have calculated correctly corresponds to some 250 litres (around 65 US gallons) per person and day, of course not all swallowed.

In ancient times, water came from a few local sources and fountains and was also partly brought to Paris in aqueducts and partly taken directly from the Seine where a first hydraulic pump was installed during the 17th century (called “La Samaritaine”, which gave the name to the department store which later was built there). Water was carried to people’s homes by water carriers – the last ones disappeared around 1910. In my yesterday’s message I talked about the Bassin de la Villette as a fresh water reservoir where water was brought in via the Canal de l’Ourcq. This did not last long. The water distribution was finally correctly organized during the second half of the 19th century and houses began to get water supply at home.

Today the water comes from different sources up to some 150 km (100 miles) away, but part comes also from upstream the Seine.

You can also get pure spring water in Paris – and for free! Some 600 or 700 meters under the ground you can find some 25 000 years old fresh water from an underground river and you can still get hold of it at three places in Paris, quite distant from each other (see the map). It holds some 25-30 Centigrades (some 80° Fahrenheit) if you drink it immediately, but if you live fairly close you would probably bring some plastic bottles and then take them to your fridge. Many people do. If you are interested in the water quality, it’s checked regularly and you can find an updated report on the spot.One of the sources can be found at the Buttes aux Cailles, Place Paul-Verlaine, 13th arrondissement. It gives enough of water also to feed the local swimming bath. (I will soon come back to this area.) Another one is at Square Lamartine in the bourgeois 16th arrondissement.… and the third one is in the much more popular 18th arrondissement, Square de la Madone, today surrounded by a number of Chinese shops and supermarkets. (We are getting a number of China towns).
Another nice possibility to get rid of your thirst, free of charge, is to drink from one of the numerous Wallace fountains (of which I already made some posts). The water here comes from the normal distribution system, not from the underground river.

25 comments:

Shionge said...

How exciting to read about the water sources Peter, I was wondering if it is safe to drink but now I know it is :)

SusuPetal said...

Free water is important and so is free toilets! Important information for people!!!

LeenaM said...

That was the interesting article to read!

Have a happy easter time!

lyliane said...

Très très très intéressant, je ne savais pas qu'il y avait un fleuve souterrain à Paris!!! Il vient de où ce fleuve de la même source que la Seine? maintenant que tu as attisé ma curiosité, il va falloir la satisfaire en m'en disant plus.
Bon printemps pas trop pluvieux quand même!

hpy said...

A ta santé. (Pas de champagne à tous les repas, ni à chaque soif.)

alice said...

Je n'avais aucune idée d' l'existence de ces points d'eau...Peter, tu es décidément incroyable!

Cergie said...

Quelle somme, quelle belle compilation comme d’hab. Bravo.
Tu mériterais la médaille de la ville de Paris (est ce que cela existe, tiens une idée de post)
J’aime bien esthétiquement parlant la fontaine du 13ème au dessus (je ne me trompe pas ?). Tu as dégoté les analyses, mais sont-elles bonnes ? Etant originaire des Vosges, nous avions l’habitude d’emmener des bonbonnes lorsque nous passions à Vittel ou Contrex, mais l’eau du robinet à Epinal me semblait la meilleure du monde. Jusqu’à ce que je parte ailleurs.

Cergie said...

Pas à partir d'aujourd'hui Peter, mais il me faut faire des préparatifs. Nous partons samedi matin.
J'avais pas bien vu : la danseuse sur guidon de vélo, le vélo est dessiné aussi ? Bien vu en tout cas.
Peter, tu gâches tes photos, tu en as de belles et comme tu en mets bcp on ne les regarde pas assez bien toutes en détail....
Remarque : si tu ne les mettais pas, on ne verrait rien...

;o)

oldmanlincoln said...

Your presentation of these facts is well done, Peter. Your photos add to the overall journalism quality.

I think a story could also be done on the gallons of water that people in civilization waste each day. Everything from washing automobiles with clean drinking water to peeing in the toilet once and flushing it away with 3 gallons of drinking water. Why people don't pee twice and flush once is beyond my comprehension. LOL

These are beautiful photos, Tom. We have a bird whose eggs match gravel or small (pea size) road stones and it is called a Killdeer and it fakes injury to itself to draw predators away from its nest. A cluster of small stones with the small eggs of the same speckled color laying in it.

Your photos are taking on a really pro look and I admire that in anybody's work.

Imagine this:
Take a picture of your car with your seated in it, going down the super highway at 65 mph. I just put this on my Brookville blog this morning.

April said...

An underground river! I'm very much astonished. That's great. I wouldn't have supposed that in a city like Paris.
Here in Cologne the Romans had water from the landscape Eifel brought to the city. There are still some remains (but not in Cologne).
Your article is very well written and very informative.

MARIA said...

Happy Easter to you and your family!

Nathalie said...

Peter another outstanding post.
But like Cergie I think your beautiful photos don't get the individual recognition they deserve. There are so many that we browse through them rather than savour them. I'll have to stay longer next time :-)

Peter I wanted to thank you for your kind support in Avignon - much appreciated.

I agree with Abe's comment about water saving. Did you know that Americans use 500 litres of clean drinking water a day per person, vs. 200 per person per day in Europe ? And less than 50 in most countries throughout the world of course... We MUST learn to conserve water.

Nathalie said...

Peter, next month's Theme for the city daily photo bloggers is "water" - you should have saved this post for the 1st of April!

(although I hope you'll do an April fool's post on that day!)

Nathalie said...

I had no idea you could have access to fresh water from this underground source in these three spots in Paris. How on earth do you learn all these things ???

delphinium said...

l'eau source de vie
le champagne source de vie
le vin source de vie

mon choix est fait, depuis longtemps. :-))

Annie said...

Humans, like birds and other wildlife, are attracted by water. All these little oases in Paris seem to draw the people near.

isabella said...

"Paris has...2 million inhabitants. It becomes really big only when you include the suburbs."
And the 6 million tourists!

Fascinating post, as usual.

Noushy Syah said...

Wow...couldn't believe that Paris still has the underground spring water! Amazing!

Well, it reminds me on my last visit to Msia in 2004 where @ the hilly highway there was a springwater flowing so well that many people stop by and patiently want to bottling the water...it taste so fresh and good! Wonder if still available now...

Gr8 posting Peter, and feel free to watch EPL on 23/3!

Chuckeroon said...

Peter, how disappointing! No giant steam engine to pump it!

lyliane said...

J'ai réussi à lire sur la première photo. Dans les années 70 à St Cyr l'Ecole, il y avait une baignade naturelle faite au bord de la Bièvre,je m'y suis baignée, hélas elle a été fermée pour cause de pollution et les castors ont aussi abandonnés les bords de cette rivière.

Peter said...

shionge:
Yes water is safe, but sometimes a visitor (in any country where water is safe) may have a particular sensivity.

susupetal:
Public toilets are also free of charge in Paris, but the best ones to visit are often in the best hotels. Just walk in and look like you live there. Of course, it must be in the bigger ones where you are "anonymous".

leenam:
Thanks and Happy Easter!

hpy said...

Pour économiser l'eau, lavons-nous (comme Delphinium) dans du champagne.

Sonia said...

Interesting post, Peter, with nice photos as always! Love the girl's graffiti on the wall of the last photo!

keyword search said...

The water fountains looks nice. Its a modern way to show water fountains.

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