In the streets of Helsinki despite its long history, water posts are still working and provide clean, drinking water for free.
Water posts appeared on the streets of Helsinki in the late 19th century, when the first water treatment plant was commissioned in Vanhankaupunginkoski. At the same time, a piece of water pipe was drawn to the center.
The first Water Post Offices were right in the city center and were introduced in 1876. At the corner of Bulevardi and Albertinkatu, water was distributed free of charge and could be obtained from the separator. Although eventually, the water pipes extended to the apartments, the water posts remained in place.
Helsinki Region Environmental Services (HSY) still maintains more than 70 water posts in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
According to Yle, some of the water posts are still located in the city center, such as the Market Square, near the departure point of the boats to Suomenlinna.
Heini Snellman, HSY's environmental expert, said water bottles can also be refilled along many outdoor routes in the city.
Because the water posts are from different eras, they look a little different from each other. At least so far, the water posts do not have a sign on their side that clearly indicates where to fill the bottle.
Instead, HSY has updated all water points in the Helsinki metropolitan area on the same map. Water posts are available from April to October.
If you cannot see the map well on your device, you can also access a full-screen version at the HSY website HERE.
An old water post doesn’t need to be pumped, even if it looks like it. The operating principle is the same as in the water tap: the handle is raised, held up for a while until the water starts to flow and finally lowered again.
HSY hopes that as many people as possible will use water post and fill their own drinking bottles, as the carbon footprint of tap water is negligible compared to the bottled drinks purchased:
- In the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, the carbon footprint of water purification and distribution is only 0.004 grams per half a liter of water.
- The carbon footprint of a soft drink is about 550 grams per half a liter. (source: HSY).