A new water fountain has recently been installed outside Highams Park Station in Waltham Forest meaning visitors can now refill their own re-usable drinking bottles with free top-quality tap water while reducing plastic waste.
The new stainless steel fountain has been installed as part of a partnership between Thames Water and the Mayor of London to install 100 drinking water fountains across London in the biggest single-use plastic reduction initiative of any UK city.
Each fountain has been topped with a distinctive blue water droplet so will be easy to spot for anyone wanting to fill up and has been designed to withstand the great British weather as well as be accessible to wheelchair users and easy to maintain.
Steve Spencer, chief operating officer at Thames Water said: “London’s tap water is world class and we’re celebrating this by building a network of water fountains so it’s even more accessible to people on the move.”
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment at Waltham Forest Council said: “We’re delighted about this new water fountain that’s free for everyone to use - many thanks to our partners from Thames Water and the GLA. Having free access to water means even more people can get out and enjoy all the great things the area has to offer.
“Importantly, this new fountain will allow people to fill their reusable water bottles - an important step to reduce single use plastic in Waltham Forest as we look at the ways we can address the climate emergency and safeguard our environment for future generations.”
In an independent taste test carried out earlier this year, many consumers were unable to tell the difference between Thames Water’s tap water and bottled water, with the latter on average being 500 times more expensive.
Steve added: “Tap water is incredible value for money and just as good as bottled water but without the plastic packaging so we want people to enjoy it by using the fountains. Together we can all drive down plastic waste from single-use water bottles, helping to care for our rivers and oceans, now and for generations to come.”
Plastic bottles make up 10 per cent of all litter found in the River Thames and can take between 500 and 1,000 years to break down. It is estimated the average Londoner buys more than three plastic water bottles every week, equating to 175 a year, with less than half being recycled.
Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: “With plastics polluting our oceans and causing untold harm to life in our rivers and waterways, it is vital that we all make changes to reduce plastic waste.
“The expansion of this network of water fountains is good news for thirsty Londoners and the environment. The fountains are sure to become popular additions to our public spaces, stations and busy areas across the capital.”
Each fountain will undergo regular safety and quality inspection by Thames Water engineers. The company runs over half a million quality tests a year on its water to ensure it meets the highest drinking water standards.