As I've moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, the issue of water access in the winter has taken on a new salience. Just because it's cold and miserable outside doesn't mean that people aren't thirsty! Many cities shut off their drinking fountains for the entire winter to avoid frozen pipes: just the other day, I walked through Boston's Public Garden feeling parched, and the drinking fountain, normally lovely, was shut off.
But now several manufacturers offer a work-around: the frost-proof drinking fountain. Ashland, Oregon, has a few of them installed, and they should become standard for any city with frost problems.
The label instructs users to press and hold the button for three seconds. Freeze-resistant drinking fountains always have a delay to keep water from freezing within the pipes, but it's worth the wait! The gurgle that starts as soon as you push the button lets you know that something is happening and adds a nice bit of drama and anticipation to the drinking fountain experience.