Keeping Cool in Krakow’s Fountains

The fountain on Plac Szczepański has been taunting passersby on hot summer days since its unveiling last month. The shooting jets in front of the fountain seem to have been made just for the purpose of splashing around, and some – particularly children – have been taking advantage of the jets despite signs warning them against such activities, only to be quickly shooed away by the city guards.

According to the Management of Municipal Infrastructure and Transport in Krakow (ZIKiT), the water in the fountain on Plac Szczepański, and all other fountains in the city, is unsuitable for bathing because, although it is filtrated, substances that fight various types of fungi and other microbiological growth are added to the water, which may cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

The Krakow Post visited the fountain on Plac Szczepański and found children playing in the water on a hot Wednesday afternoon. No one seemed to notice the two signs warning against it on either side of the fountain. “We were passing by and she just had to get wet,” said one mother while her three-year-old splashed around. She wasn’t too concerned about the potential health risks. And in the 32 degree heat, neither was her daughter.

Gazeta Wyborcza investigated the matter and found that the minuscule amounts of microbiological growth-eliminating substances added to fountains are not as dangerous as the city makes them appear. Other cities in Europe enjoy their fountains during hot summer days, why can we not enjoy ours?

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