As a backpacker, the most important item I carry in my backpack is water. I start each morning of a hike with three liters of water; two in my bladder and one in my bottle. The water bottle looks like any typical water bottle that people carry.

I mention this because I am not a millennial. Recently, millennials have been accused of changing things around us with their quirks. One of those changes millennials have been accused of is carrying a water bottle. If they carry water bottles, so what?

As it turns out, all segments of the population carry water bottles. When I am riding my bicycle, I have a water bottle with me. If I work out, which is rare, I have a water bottle. I see water bottles everywhere. It is one of the latest giveaways at conferences, meetings and office visits. Perhaps you have even received an opportunity to have water bottles with your company name imprinted on them.

Which brings us to the plumbing device called a drinking fountain. There are many that will say a drinking fountain is old school, you mean a water cooler. In other words, we are expecting the water we drink to be cold.


Chilled water debate

Interestingly, these discussions have come up during plumbing code debates. What should the plumbing code mandate regarding a drinking fountain? Should water coolers be required? Should we require water bottle fillers?

During these discussions, millennials are thrown under the bus, accused of not using drinking fountains or water coolers. Of course, that just isn’t true. What also isn’t true is that only millennials carry water bottles.

Add into the mix a discussion on water dispensers. Can a water dispenser be acceptable for providing drinking water?

Water dispensers is a generic term that can mean just about anything. Most of us have a water dispenser on our refrigerator. Having recently replaced a refrigerator, the new one has a water dispenser that can fill a water bottle. The last one was meant for filling a glass. You had to be a contortionist to fill a water bottle.

There are also water dispensers that are alongside a kitchen faucet. Some consider a lavatory faucet to be a water dispenser. The plumbing codes do not.