Free Drinking Water (Gasp) in London


Image from Evening Standard

Remember the days when you could get a drink from a water fountain--in the park, or on a street corner or at the library? Now they all seem to have disappeared: is it vandalism? health and safety? cut-backs? Well one water fountain has come back: just opened in Hyde Park, it's the first in the park for 30 years. Funded by a private developer, it's already a hit with children who think it is a huge novelty.

And in another strike against bottled water, a private water company is going to install water machines in some public places. Thirsty people will be able to fill their own container with water for 20 pence (¢30) or buy a reusable bottle on the spot.
Image from Hydrachill

Thames Water, Britain's largest privatised water company, with 13.6 million customers, is installing the water machines at a bus station and the Tower Bridge museum. Apparently 400,000 visitors a year pass by the two locations. The big, ugly machines are being developed and run by HydraChill which is "a working party of UK water companies operating initially through Water UK under the umbrella of the Water For Health initiative." So far most seem to be located in Welsh museums. All proceeds will be donated to Waste Watch, an environmental charity.

It's not perfect, but it is a step. Of course it doesn't match Bundanoon, Australia which is Australia's first bottled water free town. With 2,500 residents it's not quite as complicated a process but it just goes to show that people can reject bottled water and live to tell the tale.

Tags: Communities | Conservation | Recycling