UBC Undergraduate Research

Investigating the Optimal Locations for Outdoor Drinking Water Fountains in UBC Cameron, Sean; Chung, Eric; Mun, Namho; Pillai, Isana; Tan, Brian


The University of British Columbia (UBC) strives to become as sustainable a campus as possible. UBC, in collaboration with the SEEDS Sustainability program, has put forth initiatives and conducted research into more ways the campus can be a leader in the sustainability industry. There have been several SEEDS reports completed since 2010 regarding creating a more sustainable campus, specifically revolving around water usage across UBC. This report, published by us, students of Geography 371 alongside the SEEDS program aims to further that goal by reducing the amount of plastic water bottles sold on the UBC campus. To do this, the scope of the study centered around finding the most ideal locations to install new outdoor drinking water fountains around campus so that fresh, clean, and plastic-free water could be more readily available to students, faculty, staff, and members of the public. Furthermore, the report aimed to grasp the social, psychological, or physical reasons why those who primarily hydrate using single-use plastic water bottles do so. As part of our research, we created and distributed a questionnaire for students, faculty, and staff to anonymously fill out, as well as conducted interviews with relevant professionals working for different sectors of UBC. By using the Geographic Information System (GIS) statistics found in UBC’s public database, we were able to overlay various pieces of data indicating where outdoor water fountains can theoretically be installed. This would correlate with the feedback given by the questionnaire and interviews giving us more detailed information on where to recommend installation points. With the conclusion of our research, UBC and the SEEDS program would have a solid grasp on the specific locations that would be best fitted for the installation of outdoor drinking fountains across the Vancouver campus while taking into account cost and usability. Additionally, we aimed to provide further insight as to where more work needs to be done to demonstrate how tap water from outdoor fountains is a viable drinking source. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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