London Testing a New Way to Refill Your Water Bottle
Finding a way to refill your reusable water bottle is as hard as finding a public restroom in most cities. London is testing a new-tech "fountain" to do just that in an effort to reduce the number of water bottles in trash.
But there are signs that water fountains might be making a comeback—albeit in a slightly different form factor than that to which most of us are accustomed. After banning the sale of bottled water, the Australian tourist town of Bundanoon recently installed three water-bottle refilling stations, which crank out filtered water provided by Culligan. And now London is getting its feet wet with a test of similar dispensers at a London bus station and museum, reports The Guardian.
The trial is being deployed by Thames Water, Britain’s biggest water utility, with the cooperation of the Greater London Authority (the city’s governmental arm) and Transport for London, its transit agency. The refilling stations—called HydraChills—are being installed this month at the Hammersmith bus station and at the Tower Bridge museum. The machines can fill bottles of up to 500 milliliters (about 17 ounces) with chilled water—but not for free. There is a 20 pence charge to use the machines, and this will be donated to Waste Watch, a UK environmental nonprofit.
The idea is to test out the dispensers on the public. If they are well-used, the city will make them permanent fixtures in the pilot locations as well as in transit stations across London before the 2012 Olympics arrive.
The test is part of a larger effort by London’s government to decrease the number of single-use water bottles in its waste stream. Plus, London’s water authority hopes this will help it battle a negative image that sellers of bottled water have been drumming up through an ad campaign that calls London tap water unfit for anything more than showering. Tests, however, show otherwise. According to The Guardian, "The Drinking Water Inspectorate's latest water quality report said Thames Water's tap water was 99.99% compliant with national and European standards — its best-ever performance."