Thames Water and the Mayor of London have announced a joint venture to majorly boost the number of water fountains in London.
Each contributing £2.5m to fund, the scheme will help to tackle the issue of single-use plastic in the capital.
A network of hundreds of free public water fountains will be available across busy areas of London from Spring 2019, to encourage people to refill rather than buy bottled water and be #taptasticnotplastic.
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 average adult in London buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – some 175 bottles every year. In total, around 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste.
The new fountains will be installed in shopping centres, museums, business districts, outside busy stations, large green spaces and other publicly accessible areas with high footfall.
The 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.
The region’s tap water is among the highest quality in the world, with Thames Water running almost 500,000 quality tests a year.
Refill London, also supported by Thames Water, City to Sea and Mayor of London, 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.
London boroughs and public and private land owners are invited to register their interest in hosting one of the drinking water fountains at www.london.gov.uk/water-fountains.