New drinking water fountains promote health and wellbeing

21 June 2017

Wannon Water has installed three new drinking water fountains in Hamilton to promote community health and wellbeing.

The fountains will also help make it easy for people to Choose Tap, providing an environmentally friendly and low-cost alternative to bottled water or other drinks.

The $17,000 project was funded by Wannon Water as part of a partnership with Southern Grampians Shire Council and the GenR8 Change program. It aims to encourage people to cut down on sugary drinks for a healthier lifestyle.

New fountains have been installed at Pedrina Park and at the corner of McGuigan Lane and Gray Street in the CBD. An existing fountain at the Hamilton Skate Park has also been replaced with a new unit. The Council will be responsible for water consumption charges and the future maintenance of the fountains.

Local plumbers Finchetts were awarded the contract to install the sturdy stainless steel units which feature a drinking fountain, bottle refill station and a dog bowl.

Wannon Water General Manager Community and Corporate Services Kellie King said the initiative complemented Wannon Water’s corporate vision of ‘beyond water for strong communities’.  

“The project helps contribute to a liveable and sustainable south-west Victoria,” Ms King said. “We are proud to be working with a number of regional organisations to improve broader health outcomes for people living in the region – particularly children.”

Southern Grampians Shire Mayor Mary-Ann Brown said Council was pleased to be involved with the Choose Tap initiative.

“These drinking fountains  have been placed in public spaces so that everyone, including pets, has access to free drinking water.

“Water is the best hydration choice for people’s health, for the environment and tap water is also the cheapest option.  Council is committed to supporting a vibrant, inclusive and healthy community and we will continue to partner with other organisations in the region to ensure initiatives like this are made possible."

Janette Lowe, Executive Officer of the Southern Grampians Glenelg Primary Care Partnership, which is one of the key organisations supporting the GenR8 Change community, congratulated Wannon Water and the Council for being GenR8 Change Makers.

“To be able to freely drink water or fill up bottles in the main street and at two key activity hubs in Hamilton, will make a real difference to children and adults using these places and how much water they drink,” Ms Lowe said.

The Choose Tap campaign, promoted by Wannon Water, is designed to educate the community about the benefits of drinking tap water. Key messages include:

• Tap water is about 1,500 times cheaper per litre than bottled water. • Australians spend more than $500 million per year on bottled water. • One litre of bottled water typically costs between $3 and $4. For the same price, a one-litre bottles can be refilled from the tap every day for about two-and-a-half years. • More than 50 per cent of bottles sold in the bottled water market end up in landfill or as litter. • More than 90 per cent of the cost of a bottle of water can be traced back to the bottle, lid or label. • It can take up to three litres of water to produce one litre of bottled water. • Staying hydrated is crucial for good health and sporting, mental and academic performance.

Drinking fountain

Photo: Wannon Water Customer Relations Officer Toni Killen helps Shelby Ackland (left) and daughter Ruby-Lee Killen, both 6, to Choose Tap at the new drinking water fountain in Hamilton’s Pedrina Park.