Polish cities wheel out communist nostalgia to get citizens drinking tap water

By REUTERS
July 15, 2019 14:34
1 minute read.
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Polish cities are resorting to communist-era mobile soda fountains to convince residents to switch to drinking tap water.

Many Poles still believe tap water isn't safe to drink, despite recent upgrades of city water systems, prompting authorities to introduce a modern version of the water trolley that was an integral feature of the city landscape during communist times.

This time, flavored tap water is also available, such as with raspberry syrup, to make it more appealing.



The water trolleys, known as 'saturators', are now seen in public squares in big provincial cities. They are linked to the municipal water supply network and carbonate the water.



Adam Grabowski, who operates five trolley 'saturators' and two buffet versions of the soda fountain in the southern city of Katowice, said the element of nostalgia is making them popular, particularly among middle-aged and older people who remember the original trolleys.



"In a fraction of a second, people travel back in time and feel younger," said Grabowski.



Katowice and other big cities used EU funds to modernize and develop their water systems in the past two decades.



"We hope (residents) will see that tap water is tasty and will come home and drink it at home as well. That's what our campaign is about," said Agnieszka Jaszkaniec, a spokeswoman for Katowice Waterworks.



Other Polish cities that have launched tap water campaigns using 'saturators' include Poznan, Czestochowa, Sosnowiec and Bialystok.

Residents of smaller towns and cities, however, may still have reason to be wary of tap water. Unlike in larger cities, many of the water systems in these places are over 50 years old, potentially affecting the water quality, according to a report released by the Polish Supreme Audit Office in June.


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