Open Street Goers Stay Hydrated at Water Bar
Every day you use water; taking a shower, flushing the toilet, washing clothes, and most importantly drinking it. Not only is it one of our most used natural resources, but it is extremely accessible to most of us, simply turn on the faucet and there it is ready to be used. However, this accessibility has led us to take water for granted and hides the journey it has taken to become so accessible. Not many people take the time to stop and think, “Where did this water come from?”, however, at Open Streets U of M, people had the opportunity to think and converse about this idea.
On Saturday, October 1st, the University of Minnesota community had a chance to walk the streets and learn about local businesses, clubs, and organizations around campus. Under the Sustainability Education tent, there was an activity that would intrigue community members as well as educate them on an important topic, all they had to do was belly up to the bar, the water bar that is.
Those passing the Sustainability Education tent on Saturday you would have heard the phrase, “Welcome to Water Bar, water is all we have.” This greeting had a humorous effect on people as they looked at the flights of water, but it also represented a deeper message, the philosophy of Water Bar. After hearing this phrase, they were offered three samples of water, one from Minneapolis, St. Paul, and St. Anthony. The sampler’s goal was to analyze the differences in tastes of the three glasses of water and attempt to guess where each was from. Some didn’t notice any major differences, but most could taste differences and were surprised that three samples of water could have such distinct tastes. This station was fun for the volunteers as well as the taste testers, but the deeper meaning of Water Bar became evident with the conversations that took place after the sampling.
Learning where each sample of water came from did exactly what Water Bar was supposed to do, spark conversation about the sources of our drinking water and threats to those sources. Water bar is a collaborative public art project that was created in an effort to remind people how important our water resources are and to consider how our actions affect them. Ally Glasford, a student who bellied up to Water Bar, told me about her experience, “I thought it was really interesting how different all the tastes were, even though two of them came from the Mississippi River.” She also commented on the purpose of Water Bar, “Knowing what condition the Mississippi River is in I wouldn’t have thought that we would be able to drink that water, this has definitely made me think about my where my water comes from.” Water Bar creates a casual setting in which these topics can be discussed and encourages one to be more conscious of where it comes from and the processes it undergoes before coming out of our faucets.
By challenging people to take a look at their water sources and the impact their actions have on them, awareness is brought to the subject. However, by doing it in a fun and memorable way leaves a bigger impression, making it all the more effective. To learn more information on Water Bar visit their website, or like them on Facebook. Get a closer look at Water Bar from this Facebook Live Video taken at the event!