The Geneva Water Fountain

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Activities in Geneva

The Geneva Water Fountain

Geneva’s Jet d’Eau

The Geneva’s Jet d’eau is to the city what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris: an unmissable symbol and icon. Visible from just about everywhere, you won’t be able to avoid it during your stay in Geneva.

A brief history

The history of the Geneva Giant Water Fountain has a particular charm, since this attraction came about by chance. During the 19th century, the city experienced very rapid development during which its population almost doubled. Its water requirements were growing exponentially, so the city had no choice but to construct a hydraulic plant in 1886. But when the plant’s workers left the site in the evening, they would shut off the valves, with the result that the pressure grew dangerously and placed the turbines at risk of damage. To alleviate this danger, a safety valve was created to release the excess water and thus reduce the pressure. This safety jet of water then reached 30 meters in height and rapidly became a source of curiosity and interest for many Genevans.

But it wasn’t until 5 years later, in 1891, that the Geneva Water Fountain would start to be used as an attraction and decorative symbol. To celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation, the city decided to make use of its tourism potential by installing it at the end of the Eaux-Vives jetty by the shore of Lake Geneva. And so the Geneva’s Jet d’Eau, the city’s 90-meter-high icon, was born.

Some key facts and figures

The Geneva’s Jet d’Eau not only has a charming backstory, but also boasts a series of impressive figures. Currently, the two motor pump generators expel water at a speed of 200km per hour, to a height of 140 meters, with a flow rate of 500 liters per second. Just a trickle, then!

Other figures are also worthy of note: each drop of water propelled by the jet stays airborne for an average of 16 seconds before splashing down into the lake, and 7 tonnes of water are suspended in the air at any one time.
The fountain was recently equipped with an LED lighting system that offers a palette of 65,000 different shades and colors.

Did you know?

To ensure that it continues to work correctly, a team of 5 people looks after the Geneva Water Fountain around the clock. But who are these guardians, so vital to the city of Geneva’s most iconic monument? Here again, the water fountain has another surprise in store for us, as its custodians are none other than 5 retired volunteers with a passion for the Industrial Services of Geneva (SIG)! An important yet enjoyable task, it is their responsibility to open and close the valves depending on the prevailing winds and temperature. Sometimes, they even have to switch the jet off and on several times in the same day.

Discover other articles on the city of Geneva on the Manotel blog!

 

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