Street Use

Drinking Water Vending Machine

Japan is famous for the fantastic and various things you can buy in vending machines — often standing in the most incongruous places. China has a few of these as well. This drinking-water vending machine was standing on a tiny back alley in Suzhou, a city near Shanghai. I couldn’t tell where/what it was hooked up to, but many of the homes in this area of the city, which neat and substantial, had no plumbing. So perhaps rather than have a spigot with unlimited water, they decided to meter it out. You bring your 5-gallon jar and fill ‘er up. Don’t know how much it costs.


Posted on May 12, 2007 at 6:31 am | comments

  • Kevin,

    The text about the coin slot says

    “0.2 Yuan per Liter”

    Underneath the coin return, there are two sets of green & orange buttons, the text above them says

    “large container 4 Yuan” & “small container 0.5 Yuan”.

    If you have a larger view of this photo I could translate the rest text on the machine for you.


  • Brad F

    I don’t read Chinese but rember the symbol for RMB. It looks like it costs 0.2 RMB/liter (about 2.6 cents ). For the container that looks like a gallon (actually 5 liter) refill costs 1 RMB = $0.13. the large container is 20 liter 4 RMB = $0.52

  • You find much the same thing in a variety of stores in the US these days – I’ve seen them in Whole Foods, Jewel (Albertson’s), Dominicks (Safeway) and possibly other grocery stores. Sometimes they’re in the area of the bottled water, sometimes at the front of the store. They sell purified water.