Scottish Government Viewpoint
SCOTTISH Water has announced plans to roll out tap water refill points around Scotland over the next two years.
Councils are being consulted to identify the best locations with the aim of having the first 10 Top Up Taps installed by the end of next March.
The move follows the launch earlier this year of the Your Water, Your Life campaign in which the utility giant called for customers to drink tap water at home, at work and on the move as a way of reducing waste, saving themselves money and staying hydrated.
Edinburgh will be the first location for a Top Up Tap with the installation going in by the end of this month outside the front of the Scottish Parliament.
Other sites being considered for the initial roll-out include Inverness and Fort William.
The units will be fitted with technology that will enable the company to digitally track water usage at each Top Up point.
The resulting data will be used to calculate cost and plastic savings, along with the volume of water being consumed.
Douglas Millican, Scottish Water chief executive, said: "Our research shows that people feel very positively towards the quality of Scotland's tap water – now these state-of-the-art taps can provide access to enable water drinkers to enjoy it while on the go by carrying and using refillable bottles."
A national drive to encourage people to stay hydrated by drinking water from the tap in refillable bottles was set out in the Scottish Government's Programme for Government 2018-2019. Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said she is delighted to see it being implemented so swiftly.
She said: "By encouraging people to top up from the tap using refillable bottles, we will help cut down on our use of plastics and promote the benefits of hydration building on Scottish Water's Your Water, Your Life campaign.
"I now look forward to refilling my bottle at the Top Up Tap outside the parliament in the coming months."
The Your Water, Your Life campaign aims to make tap the first choice for water drinkers wherever they are, and encourages businesses to make it readily available for staff and customers.
Water samples will be tested every two minutes, on average, to ensure that quality is maintained.
Licensed premises are legally bound to serve tap water on request, yet research shows Scots are uncomfortable asking, something this campaign hopes to change. Customer research by Scottish Water revealed tap is the water of choice for almost two thirds of people in Scotland (65 per cent), and currently over a third (36 per cent) carry reusable bottles always or often when out and about. But less than a third (30 per cent) said they'd be happy to go into a café and ask for their bottle to be filled.
On average a litre bottle of water costs about 65p, so topping up daily from the tap, could save £1.30 a day, nearly £500 a year.
The Top Up Taps are made from marine-grade steel and are connected to the mains water supply.
* For further information visit www.yourwateryourlife.co.uk