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Geneva’s huge water fountain, some facts.

Geneva's Fountain
Geneva’s Fountain

The Jet d’Eau is the large water fountain (that you cant fail to see!) in Geneva, Switzerland, and is one of the city’s most famous landmarks, it even features on the city’s official tourism web site.  It is one of the largest fountains in the world.

Situated at the point where Lake Geneva empties into the Rhone River, it is visible throughout the city, it is even visible flying over the city when coming in to land at Geneva airport.

Five hundred litres of water per second are pumped to an altitude of 140 metres via two 500 kW pumps, consuming over one megawatt of electricity.  The water leaves the nozzle at a speed of 200 km/h. At any given moment there are about 7,000 litres of water in the air.

The original pressure release valve
The original pressure release valve

The original Jet d’Eau was installed in 1886 at the Usine de la Coulouvrenière, a little further downstream from its present location.  Originally it wasn’t a tourist attraction at all, it was used as a safety valve for a hydraulic power network and could reach a height of about 30 metres.  When factories closed down in the evening the valve was used to release pressure in the system.  In 1891, its aesthetic value was recognised and it was moved to its present location.  Its maximum height is about 90 metres. The present Jet d’Eau was installed in 1951 in a partially submerged pumping station to pump lake water instead of city water!

Since 2003, the fountain has operated during the day all year round, except in case of frost and particularly strong wind. It operates in the evening between spring and autumn and is lit by a set of 12 lights.

James Coates

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