Public Art: Jet d’Eau
Date Installed: The current Jet d’Eau was installed in 1951.
Description: A massive fountain of water which sprouts 140 metres (459 feet) into the air from two pumps located in Lake Geneva. The Jet d’Eau is one of Geneva’s most famous landmarks and is one of the largest fountains in the world, spewing 500litres( 132 gallons) of water per second into the sky. The water can reach an altitude of 140m (459 ft) and is visible throughout the city. The water is released by two pumps which consume over one megawatt of electricity and the water exits the nozzle at a speed of 200km/h (124mph). At any given time there
Location: The Jet d’Eau can be reached by a stone jetty situated at the left bank of Lake Geneva where it empties into the Rhone River. Be warned, if you venture onto the jetty you may end up soaked to the skin if the wind changes and blows the jet your way.
History of The Jet d’Eau: When a safety valve becomes art. The first Jet d’Eau was actually a safety valve built for a hydraulic power network located at the Usine de la Coulouvrenière, a little downstream from where it is today. The valve was installed in 1886 to release the pressure built up by excess water from the new hydraulic turbines. The pressure was caused when the valves were closed each night when the workers went home.
By the time the valve problem was resolved, the 30 metres (98 feet) fountain had drawn a considerable amount of attention, prompting a few clever people to turn the valve into a permanent water feature on Lake Geneva. In 1891 the Jet d’Eau was moved from the river to a prominent position in the lake, where over time more and more powerful pumps were installed. The original jet shot water 90 metres (295 feet) into the air.
In 1951 the present Jet d’Eau was installed in a partially submerged pumping station. Instead of using city water this time, the pumps used the lake water.
Trivia: Each drop of water takes 16 seconds to complete the round trip from the nozzle to the lake.
At any given time there is 7,000 litres (1849 gallons) of water in the air.