There is something eerie lurking beneath our feet in cities and towns across the world. It’s not something we like to think about, but it’s something we cannot live without. Access to this underworld is mostly via grey, non-descript iron circles dotting roads and sidewalks. If you live in a built up area, not a day would pass that you wouldn’t step on or over a manhole – yet how many times have you really noticed it?
If you live in Japan it’s a different story. In an effort to raise awareness of costly sewage projects and to make them more palatable to ratepayers, the Japanese government allow municipalities to design their own manhole covers. Today more than 6000 artistic manhole covers depicting landscapes, floral designs, birds and more dot the streets, providing communities and visitors with a constant art exhibition right beneath their feet.
We love the idea of making water infrastructure more visible – it’s such an important part of our lives in civilised society yet we all seem to take it for granted.
Many water service providers across Australia now cover unsightly water towers, reservoirs and pump stations with beautiful works art – Unitywater on the Sunshine Coast recently unveiled this beauty. We hope the trend will continue and one day include manhole covers as well.
So in honour of the men and women that deliver clean water to our homes and take our dirty water away, we introduce a series called Manhole Monday. Every Monday, we will post a picture of a beautiful manhole cover to help us remember just how lucky we are. Enjoy!