Fresh drinking water from old hydrants

A man kneels at water hydrant, pouring water into a bottle, next to a quiet, suburban street on Lauttasaari in summer time. A cyclist passes by towards the right of the photo.
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There are 76 functioning water hydrants in the Helsinki metropolitan area, from which outdoor enthusiasts can get an endless supply of free fresh tap water to quench their thirst.

The water hydrants maintained by the Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY) are a well kept secret even from many of the Helsinki residents. Only a few Helsinki residents know that fresh and clean tap water is served free of charge from water hydrants located around the city.

The green water hydrants originate from the 19th century, and can be found from different markets and near recreational outdoor areas. You can easily fill up your water bottle at, Market Square, Fredrikintori Square, Hakaniemi Market Square, Hietalahti Market Square, Mustikkamaa or Suomenlinna.

Water hydrants are in use from April to October, their exact locations can be found on HSY's map service.

 

Close up of the top of a water hydrant, held up by a green, metal frame, a small and handwritten notice attached. The background is filled by a green hedge.
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The history of water hydrants in the metropolitan area dates back to the late 19th century. Before indoor water piping was a commodity, water supply was available for common consumption in the courtyards. As water supply slowly developed, water post offices replaced easily polluted common wells and enabled safer access to domestic water.

Although water hydrants do not currently play their original intended role as household water intakes, their story continues. Today, water post offices serve the townspeople by providing fresh drinking water to outdoor enthusiasts and those traveling in the city.

  • Water hydrants provide HSY's fresh tap water, which is a climate-friendly, additive-free and economically more sound to bottled water.
  • In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the carbon footprint of water purification and distribution is only 0.004 grams per half litre of water, while the carbon footprint of a soft drink, for example, is about 550 grams per half litre.
  • Opting for tap water is an easy everyday environmental act that reduces the number of plastic packaging that ends up as waste.

    Source: Helsingin seudun ympäristöpalvelut HSY
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Environmental services, HSY, in the Helsinki region maintains 76 water hydrants in the Helsinki metropolitan area, from which outdoor enthusiasts can get an endless supply of free fresh tap water to quench their thirst.