Barcelona Water Tower Brings On The Bling

Attention civic boosters, if your town’s pride-and-joy water tower is decorated with a flat, plain-Jane painted logo or mascot, imagine how something like this could help you hit the big time! Your town’s tower could display a sparkling digital media extravaganza worthy of a glamorous international destination like Barcelona in Spain!

(Don’t fret over funding…a couple of bogus studies by “experts” will easily project millions in expected new development and tourism bucks. Taxpayers LOVE this stuff!)

Just observe the awesomeness of the new media facade on Barcelona’s water tower built by the Cologne-based company ag4 Media Facade GmbH and completed at the end of November 2009. All kidding aside, I really DO believe in the power of art to communicate and this creative display links water infrastructure and media architecture to produce a stunning visual reminder of vital water issues.


The “Fontsanta Balance Tower” is part of the newly constructed pumping station built by the Spanish water supply company ATLL and conceals a water reservoir that ensures a constant water pressure balance in Barcelona.

ag4 has created a media skin for the water reservoir. Dynamic visual media blend with the impressive architecture of the building. The light choreography, created by ag4 in close collaboration the architects ruisánchez arquitectes and ATLL, explores the various themes concerning the sustainable management and use of water reserves while simultaneously emphasizing the form and function of the building.

Water Joke: Go Fish With The Blondes

Three blondes were sitting on a riverbank patiently holding their fishing poles with the lines in the water when the game warden came up behind them, and said “Excuse me, ladies, I’d like to see your fishing licenses.”

“We don’t have any.” replied the first blonde

“Well, if you’re going to fish here, you need fishing licenses.”

“But officer,” replied the second blonde, “we aren’t fishing. We all have magnets at the end of our lines because we’re trying to find jewelry and valuables in the river bottom!”

The warden lifted up all the lines and, sure enough, there were magnets tied on the end of each line. “Well, I don’t know of any law against it,” said the warden. “You can take whatever you find.” And with that, he left.

As soon as he was out of sight, the three blondes started laughing hysterically. “What a dumb cop!” the second blonde said to the other two, “doesn’t he know that there are steelhead trout in this river?!

Art Lovers: Urine for An Unusual Sight

Art you can use…if you dare! The most interesting thing about this 2005 installation is that it was a fully functional facility, “open to both sexes.” Thanks to Brian Banks for alerting us to American Standard by Vancouver, Canada artist Reece Terris. (Matchmaking opportunity! Reece, there may be a perfect-fit project waiting for you in Toronto!)

From the artist’s website,

American Standard is an installation that featured fifteen functional urinals arranged in a pyramid formation on the wall of the men’s washroom in the Alexander Centre studio at Simon Fraser University.  Transforming the facility into a public indoor fountain, water overflowed from the uppermost urinal and splashed its way down through the formation creating a deluge of water flooding the sunken floor. Visitors enter the space via tiled stepping stones, providing access directly to the sink and preexisting toilet, leaving the facility fully functional and open to both sexes.

At the same page, don’t miss the embedded video which includes the installation in action; this does the work far better justice than these still photos.)

Polluters, Ye Shall Feel My Wrath

Some of our brethern (and “cistern”) have had their faith tested…not in their religious beliefs, but in the safety of their local water supply. From Yahoo News,

MOSCOW – More than 100 Russian Orthodox believers have been hospitalized after drinking holy water during Epiphany celebrations in the eastern city of Irkutsk, an official said Monday.

A total of 117 people, including 48 children, were in the hospital complaining of acute intestinal pain after drinking water from wells in and around a local church last week, said Vladimir Salovarov, a spokesman for the Irkutsk Investigative Committee.

Salovarov said 204 people required some medical treatment after consuming the water, the source of which was a stagnant lake. He said, however, that it was too early to say what caused the illness.

Many Russians consider any water obtained on Epiphany — which they celebrate on Jan. 19 — to be holy.

The water is typically bottled for consumption later. Tap water in most of Russia is undrinkable.

Vols Fan Wants to Give Kiffin Some Crap. Literally.

After just one season as head football coach at the University of Tennessee, the not-well-loved Lane Kiffin cut town for California to become the new head coach of the USC Trojans. Now, it’s backlash time! People around these parts hold a mighty tough grudge and don’t take kindly to a snub against their hometown or their home team.

Knoxville attorney Drew McElroy is raising a stink by spearheading what he sees as a fitting honor to the departed and disgraced coach. He has filed paperwork with the Knoxville City Council’s Public Properties and Facilities Naming Committee to rename a wastewater treatment plant the “Lane Kiffin Sewage Center.”

From a story on news.cincinnaticom,

McElroy said after driving down Neyland Drive and seeing all the history, it hit him. Renaming the Kuwahee Wastewater Treatment Plant would be the best way to let Kiffin know he understands why the coach left.

“It dawned on me – Lane Kiffin told us that he hoped the fans would understand. I thought ‘Well, naming the wastewater plant for him would let him know, I think very clearly, we do understand,’” McElroy, an off-and-on season ticket holder said. “We want to memorialize his stay here, and I think this would be doing it appropriately.”

McElroy personally financed the $262 application fee. He doesn’t think the entire facility needs to be renamed – just a part of it. In fact, he stated that just a cesspool at the facility would be enough to satisfy him. We’ll all have to wait and see, though; the committee meets only a few times per year, and it is not certain when they’ll take up this issue.

Personally? Neat idea, but what an insult to the dedicated and hardworking staff of the Kuwahee Wastewater Treatment Plant! They’ve got to hold their heads up around town, after all!

To no one’s surprise,

Calls to the University of Southern California’s Athletic Department requesting comment from the former Volunteer coach were not returned Tuesday.

Both the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Utilities Board had no official comment on the proposed name change.

Water Tower: Just What We All Wanted!


Wrapped up in a big red bow for a unique photo op, this new water tower was a “gift” from Roger Williams University to the town of Bristol, Rhode Island. (Wow! That’s the first time I’ve seen the words “university” and “gift” used together when it DID NOT involve my checkbook!) From

In 2008, Roger Williams University was adding new buildings to its Bristol, R.I., campus when, in the course of construction, it ran into a problem: low water pressure.

“We could have brought in pressure booster pumps to campus,” said Roy J. Nirschel, the university’s president. “But in that case, the town of Bristol would still have been affected.”

Instead, the university donated $1 million to the town to finance a new water tower.

Neat-o, but the article also points out that there are timely reasons why these sorts of “gifts” may become more common, and involve factors beyond pure altruism:

The subject is particularly relevant in the wake of Pittsburgh’s debate over a proposed tuition tax, intended to extract from students “fair share”contributions for city services and infrastructure upkeep. The tax was dropped after colleges and universities agreed to voluntarily increase their contributions to the city.

I can’t wait to see a nice bronze plaque commemorating a new sewer pipeline! Just imagine…refined signage honoring the donors and marking…the UNLV Intake Pipe #3!?

Bottled Water, We Really Do Love Ya

Regular visitors here know that we often get our jollies by ridiculing bottled water. Our barbs, though, are directed at those who regularly use the product though they have easy access to clean, plentiful tap water… you know the type, the clueless, wasteful track-suited, cell-talking types we see loading up on cases of the stuff at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

The truth is I am actually thankful for bottled water. In times of emergency or in thousands of poor and polluted areas of the world, I am grateful that people sometimes have this option, because people are more important than plastic. The speed at which bottled water can be mobilized and transported to a disaster zone eases suffering and saves lives.

Via Simminch on Flickr:

Haitian citizens receive water from air crewmen from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9 assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70). Carl Vinson and Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 are conducting humanitarian and disaster relief operations after a 7.0 magnitude earthquake caused severe damage near Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Aaron Shelley/Released)

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division stack supplies Jan. 16 that will be delivered to the forward operating bases within the city of Port-au-Prince. No room was spared in the aircraft as they packed them with troops and supplies.

Read more about water challenges in the hardest-hit areas of Haiti (including some first-person accounts) at See this post on for information on water-focused relief organizations.

h2o mp3: Water – Pit Er Pat

Water and electronica fans, today is your lucky day! Thanks to @canadianwater on Twitter (led by Water Canada editor and Renaissance woman Kerry Freek) for pointing us to this terrific track.

Pit Er Pat is an L.A.-based duo (Butchy Fuego and Fay Davis-Jeffers) who use  vocals, guitar, synthesizer, drums, MPC, melodica, conga, cuica, and heaven knows what else to produce their arty-modern sound.

This track, premiered on Stereogum, was part of an song collection they wrote specifically for a European tour that has morphed into the about-to-be-released album The Flexible Entertainer.

Lyrics (My own transcription, so no guarantees!)

Drip drip drip, drop drop,
Drip drip drip, drop drop,
Tic a tic a tock you ask alot
Tic a tic a tock go ask a God
Tic a tic a tock ask a clock
tic toc it’ll make your body stop

I’ll tell you what it is to me
You show me what it is to be greedy
Do we have to wait and see
Or will you give up what’s free?

Drip drip drip, drop drop
Drip drip drip, drop drop
Tic a tic a tock you ask alot
Tic a tic a tock go ask a clock
tic toc it’ll make your body stop

I can see you dressed up for (?)
But me I’m not goin’ go easy?
I’ve seen your snake in the grass
clock says you’re not going to last

Play the track


Download Water – Pit Er Pat
Low-fi 64kbps file for sampling.
Like it? Support the people who make music. Buy The Flexible Entertainer here (Released 1/26/10)