2. The Chinese have two museums dedicated to drinking water
In Taipei, Taiwan, a museum dedicated to drinking water has been operating since the late 1990s, though periodically closed for maintenance and renovations. Appropriately it is located in the Taipei Water Park. Like most water parks, it serves to provide amusement and recreation for the citizens of Taiwan and visitors. The Museum of Drinking Water provides the history of drinking water purification and delivery in Taiwan, and displays much of the historic systems used for the purpose. Drinkable tap water in Taiwan didn’t exist until after 1945, and only in recent years has it become truly safe to drink, according to Taiwanese officials. The museum celebrates the efforts to provide safe water to Taiwanese citizens. Yet it is far less well-known than the Museum of Tap Water, in Beijing, People’s Republic of China.
The Museum of Tap Water sits on the site of the original Beijing waterworks. It exists for the purpose of educating people on the need for water conservation. It delineates Beijing’s fresh water supply, the water treatment centers, and the reservoirs as well as the history of providing water to the city and nearby regions. The museum presents displays which memorialize the rationing of fresh water in the 1950s, when citizens exchanged coupons for their water at public taps. All in all, according to sources and travel guides, the museum presents its subject well. The need to conserve fresh water is well documented. But there is a problem. Most tap water in China contains unsafe levels of mercury, lead, and other metals and minerals. In older systems, bacteria frequently leaks into the water supply. Most Chinese families boil their water before using it.