The Design Observer Group


Posted 02.10.11


Ernest Beck

GlobalTap Update



GlobalTap's new water dispensers include a wall model and one with drinking fountain.

A year ago, San Franciscans were introduced to a new way of refilling their water bottles while on the go — a sleek, IDEO-designed steel station created by a for-profit social enterprise called GlobalTap. Over the past year, the launch phase of GlobalTap expanded in the socially conscious city to include stations in the Marina Green park, the University of California at San Francisco, the California Academy of Sciences and two terminals at San Francisco Airport. Designs were updated with customized colors, a wall version with adjustable height aimed at schools, and one with an attached drinking fountain. “We are learning by doing in the pilot phase, and now it’s time to scale up,” says GlobalTap founder Daniel Whitman, noting that Toronto and some European cities are in talks to install the stations. He believes that students could become major drivers for the project, as part of new efforts to curb youth obesity and cut down on sugary drinks in schools. Talks are also underway in Ghana and Trinidad to fund clean water projects with revenue from the sale of the refilling stations to institutions in North America and Europe, Whitman adds.