There are 118,000 fire hydrants throughout New York. A fire hydrant can release 4,500 litres of water per minute when fully opened, so recreational use may cause the network to lose pressure, potentially reducing the system’s capacity to quench fires. This enormous release of water also poses a risk for flooding that can impact pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars. The law requires that citizens request to have a hydrant locked, unlocked, relocated, or fitted with a spray cap to turn it into a sprinkler in the summertime. But even when hydrants are properly opened, they are mostly perceived as a cooling water feature and few people would think of drinking the water that comes directly from a hydrant.

Turning fire hydrants into public water fountains – USA – ech2o newsletter snippet