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We now have two questions about drinking water taps/fountains in airports, but they are very specific, one to one the terminal of a single airport, the other as wide to cover both airports in a smallish city.
This, and some banter about it on the chat, inspired me to ask this question.

Most of the time I travel with a water bottle, to fill after going through security, and I do prefer not to buy bottled water. That is more a principle than a money choice, but the inflated prices for water in some airports do make the money side more important, added to which comes the fact that when you have a stop over you do not always have local money and paying for water on a credit card is a bit over the top.

Water fountain at the Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taiwan
Water fountain at the Chiang Kai Shek International Airport in Taiwan, by PhiloVivero under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Are there any websites known to include water fountains in their information about airports? Either actual tap points or the fact that gettting water is hard (no taps or fountains, ask in restaurant,) or easy, (like Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport where there seem to be drink water fountains near every other toilet group,) or general for the country with added information that the airport is not better (do not drink tapwater in this country, there are no special drink water fountains on the airports.)
It would be a bonus to be able to see if it is acceptable to ask at an airport business to fill up your bottle, or even just a bit to take you medication, even when you do not spend money with them.

I am thinking sites like the one where you can find overnight/sleep qualities of different airports.

After a few months with no real responses, I give up on this question. Even drinking water points that were there seem to disapear, like on Schiphol, Amsterdam Airport. (Were I was told the water in the basins at the toilets is drinking water quality and has cold as well.)

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    That would indeed be a great resource. Here in the US, we are lucky in that public buildings, such as airports, are required by building codes to have an appropriate number of drinking fountains, and tap water is safe to drink (I guess FNT is an exception). Some airports even have bottle filling stations like this in a few locations; it would be great if your hypothetical site also included info on where to find those. – Nate Eldredge Jan 16 '16 at 15:10
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    In Europe, as a rule, you can drink the tap water but airports often only supply lukewarm 'hand washing' water and the water heating systems are known to make water less suitable to drink, (besides a lot of people not wanting lukewarm drinking water.) – Willeke Jan 16 '16 at 16:23
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    Thanks for asking this question, and I truly hope someone would answer. In my own country, it's quite a long shot to guess if you'd find a water fountain inside gates. Gate 7 for example has one but not Gate 6. – Ayesh K Jan 17 '16 at 9:31
  • I carry a half-liter flask with filter. Fill from any source, press in the filter, go. Had to resort to irrigation ditches a few times with no ill effects. Any sink or whatever would work. – WGroleau Jan 18 '16 at 12:58
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    You do know that most filters have a hard time with chemicals right? Even activated carbon loses its efficacy startlingly quickly when faced with fertilizer and farm runoff.... – RoboKaren Jan 18 '16 at 20:33
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+50

There is always a place where you can get water for free.

  • The easiest and most obvious solution is finding a water fountain, or a drinking water tap.
  • Walk up to a bar. Ask them to refill it, and most of the bars will refill it (for free) without hesitation. Once they even added ice (spontaneously) because it was a hot day with a lot of delays. They have never denied my request (European airports). They will never ask you if they can refill anything, they'll never advertise "free refills here". They want you to buy, but you can still get it for free if you ask. You sort of "have to know you can ask it".
  • Refill it at a water tap in the toilets. (It's always drinkable in Europe as far as I know, and I suppose the same goes for the US/Canada)

Backstory on the free water in bars: In a lot of cases they are obligated to refill your bottle, or there is no excuse for them not to. For example in Belgium, whenever you get a connection to flowing water, you're getting an amount of "free" water. This is because you're expected to give others access to water if they ask you for it. This also has to do with "access to water" being a human right.

Affordable. Water, and water facilities and services, must be affordable for all.

(United nations Human right for water, see also the previously linked article about free water in the UK http://www.uk-airport-news.info/gatwick-airport-news-140705.htm)

In the rare case you can't get access to free water, I would complain. They'll likely find it easier to just refill your bottle of water, instead of dealing with the complaining and possible bad PR.

Sources: personal expierience, frequent flyer

  • I'm pretty sure that water cannot be drunk from most toliet taps. – Nathan Shoesmith Jun 1 '16 at 16:38
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    It might be lukewarm or in the worst case it's warm, but in Europe it should be drinkable. The general rule is probably that if you can drink tap water in that country, you can drink tap water from the toilets. Here's an example list on where tap water is drinkable: studenttravel.about.com/od/healthystudentholidays/fl/… . There are exceptions where it isn't drinkable, but those are exceptions, and saying "most toilet taps' water is undrinkable" would be wrong. Please note I'm talking about Europe/US/Canada. – Bertware Jun 1 '16 at 16:42
  • You have linked access to water being a human right - does this mean free water or just water being available? – Nathan Shoesmith Jun 1 '16 at 16:49
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    Another fact: they will never ever advertise their "free water". They will always want you to buy the overpriced bottled water. They're not going to put huge signs saying it's drinkable water. When not to drink it? When you're in a country where you know it's risky, or when there are explicit signs stating you can't drink it. See also: lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/europe-western-europe/topics/… community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/… – Bertware Jun 1 '16 at 16:51
  • Good point. Perhaps you should put that in your answer and say that it is the reason why there are no websites detailing where to get free water? – Nathan Shoesmith Jun 1 '16 at 16:54
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I think that websites displaying water fountain locations is probably asking a bit much of any public facility.

Water is now available in some UK airports free of charge, after calls from a watchdog;

A spokesman for airport operator BAA said drinking fountains offering free water were already installed at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Southampton airports, and Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen are in the process of having water fountains fitted.

I can't provide you with a link to a website giving you maps of water points, because I cannot find any, they may not exist.

A quick Google search (other search engines are available) should tell you if your airport provides free water at drinking fountains.

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There is now a website wateratairports.com that aims to inform travellers what free drinking fountains are available in which airport departures, it has just started so it needs your help in finding them, there is no catch.

I created the site because I am fed up with the high price of buying water in airports, I travel regularly through Malaga airport where a bottle of water cost 2€ in departures and the same bottle is 0.75€ in the town. When you click on "reply" it will ask you to "login or register" a green box should open on the top right of your screen, you cannot add a new topic ( airport ) please do this in the general / comments about this website topic.

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    Are you in any way connected to the site? (Stack exchange wants people to admit, no negatives if you are.) I tried to add the one tap I know in the UK, but could not find a way to register and it tells that without registering you can not add. – Willeke May 25 '17 at 8:53
  • Sorry yes I am connected, I am fed up with the high price of buying water in airports, I travel through Malaga airport where a bottle of water cost 2€ in departures and the same bottle is 0.75€ in the town. When you click on "reply" it will ask you to "login or register" a green box should open on the top right of your screen, you cannot add a new topic ( airport ) please do this in the general / comments about this website topic. – Clive May 25 '17 at 12:47
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In many countries even if they don't want to fill your bottle in a cafe¹, especially somewhere closed like an airport they (have to or will) give you a glass of tap water. With a steady hand you can pour it into your bottle. This is even easier if you're buying a coffee or eating a meal.

¹Once they start saying it's for hygiene reasons it's not worth arguing with them.

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