Thames Water has partnered with the mayor of London to deliver a new £5 million scheme to create a network of hundreds of free public water fountains across busy areas of London.
Following a successful pilot in which 20 fountains were installed in the capital, the new network will be rolled out from spring 2019.
The fountains will be located in shopping centres, museums, business districts, outside busy stations, large green spaces and other publicly accessible areas with high footfall. The aim is to reduce single-use plastic waste and encouraging people to refill rather than buy bottled water.
The new network of fountains is in addition to the first 20 the mayor is already delivering this year across London. More than 8,000 litres of drinking water has been dispensed from the two Liverpool Street Station fountains alone in less than one month.
Commenting on the announcement, mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “For many years, our public water fountains were discarded and neglected, whilst single-use plastic waste soared. We’re determined to reverse that trend and help deliver hundreds more free public fountains in the capital for everyone to enjoy.
“There is a real appetite for refilling and I want Londoners to lead the way in topping up on tap water when we’re on the move. This great new fund will significantly boost the number of public fountains in some of the busiest places across London from next spring.
“The fountains we’ve already delivered this year are attracting thousands of visitors and helping people make small but important changes in reducing plastic consumption.”
Thames Water will take care of installation, maintenance, cleaning and repairs to ensure the fountains are clean and safe to use for all Londoners.
Steve Robertson, chief executive of Thames Water, said: “Nurturing and protecting the environment is a core mission for Thames Water and we are proud of the high quality of our tap water. By making it even more accessible for Londoners on the move we can together limit the use of millions of single-use plastic bottles which sadly end up in landfill or in our rivers and oceans.”
The mayor also supports Refill London – a partnership between City to Sea, mayor of London and Thames Water – which has so far recruited more than 2,000 London shops, businesses, venues and cafes including Costa, Tate Modern, BFI Imax and Leon to provide free tap water to members of the public.
Several water companies took part in the first “National Refill Day” held on 27 September in a bid to curb single use plastic.