Most of the famous fountains of the world were planned, designed and installed for the purpose of beautification. However, Jet d'Eau, visible throughout the city of Geneva and perhaps the most recognizable landmark in the city, was created due to technical issues.
As a matter of fact, between 1883 and 1892, a power plant was installed near the point where the River Rhone flows out to Lake Geneva, to exploit the flow of the river to provide water pressure to feed the city's water pressure and supply more electricity for the growing industry, particularly in watch making workshops. However, one day, at night, as an excess pressure build-up in the system, the engineers soon added a safety valve and that spouted the famous jet of water into the sky. During those days, the jet reached up to 30 m high and only erupted only in the evening at one side of the plant.
However, as the fountain gained popularity, it was moved to the city's downtown area as a permanent feature to celebrate the Federal Gymnastics Festival and Swiss Confederation in 1891.Consequently, the height of the fountain was extended to reach 90 meters and is visible throughout the city. The fountain we see today was installed in 1951and the interested visitors can reach nearer to it for a closer view, via a stone jetty from the left bank of the lake. But, in case of a slight change in wind direction, water stream can splash the whole public area around the fountain.
Today, its partially submerged pumping station is powerful enough to propel one cubic metre of water into the air every two seconds and 500 litres of water is expelled per second at a speed of 200 km per hour to the height of 140 m in the sky, which is about 50m higher than the Statue of Liberty.
The nozzle, which allows the water to be projected at a diameter of 16 cm at the base, is filled with millions of tiny air bubbles and it creates vapourisation that makes the Jet d’Eau white. However, the jet is turned off, if the wind picks up and when the temperature drops to freezing point.
Jet d'Eau, which literally means, water jet, was lit up for the first time to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the Swiss Confederation. Later, equipped with an LED projector box, it has now become a reality to light up the fountain in the colours of the national flag for special events.