Diana Young

Flow Fall

Bachelor of Design Product Design Sustainability


A Public Drinking Fountain

Flow Fall is a drinking fountain designed to raise public awareness about water supply levels in our dams while also offering users fresh drinking water. The fountain engages people with their local and current water supply status and encourages them to see water as a valuable resource.

It is 2020 and climate change is having an impact all around the globe. Water availability is expected to  be less predictable, with increasing extremes of drought and flooding.

By interacting with Flow Fall, users can not only hydrate with Auckland’s quality drinking water, but are also reconnected to water through the aesthetics of movement and sound. A lit-up pattern indicates water reserves in our dams. The blue light indicates optimum supply, and the red light shifts to show current levels. A QR code provides a link to Watercare’s website.

In 2020 Auckland experienced a severe drought. For the first time in 25 years water levels in our dams dropped below 50% (Watercare, 2020). This has resulted in Stage One restrictions for the Auckland region. Although Aucklanders are aware of the drought, urban populations readily become detached from natural resources and the processes that provide drinking water. As they still receive clean water at the turn of a tap, residents are often disassociated with water shortages and struggle to comprehend restrictions that require changes in their everyday patterns of usage.

The objectives of this project are:

  • To develop public water literacy, as to where our water comes from, through using an everyday commodity such as a drinking fountain.
  • To use Auckland’s current water shortage as an opportunity to develop public awareness of water as a valuable resource and prepare Auckland’s population for changes in supply due to climate change.

These objectives intend to improve our relationship with freshwater and thereby manage water usage better to help prevent water shortages.

There are two components to this product.

The first is the light feature that visibly helps people understand the city’s water reserves.

To do this, a visualization of cracked earth as a metaphor for droughtadorns the top of the fountain. Lighting behind this panel provides a visual indicator of current water levels in our dams.

The second component is the design for the drinking fountain. It has a bottle filler and a bubbler with all excess water flowing into a dog bowl. It is designed for public space and demonstrates the flow of water - like a waterfall or stream - to help reconnect people to water as a valuable natural resource.


Watercare - Drought response. (2020). Retrieved 28 July 2020, from https://www.watercare.co.nz/Water-and-wastewater/Drought-response