Water fountains that save plastic and provide clean drinking water to developing nations to hit UK ahead of World Water Day

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Water station in Boots

Consumers keen to do their bit to tackle single-use plastic by refilling their water bottles will now also have the opportunity to provide clean drinking water to some of the world’s poorest communities at the click of a button, thanks to an innovative new fundraising initiative arriving in the UK this week.  

Dutch charity Made Blue, in partnership with water cooler experts MIW, has created a water fountain that offers filtered, chilled drinking water and an option to donate 75p via a QR code positioned on the unit. This small contribution will guarantee at least 500 litres of clean, fresh drinking water to a community in one of five live projects in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda.  

The first of these fountains was unveiled this week at Northwood military base in North West London. The partnership aims to launch further units in a wide range of UK destinations including shopping centres, museums, universities, sports clubs, hospitals, libraries and transport hubs, with an ambition to raise thousands more for the worthy cause.  

Made Blue this week celebrates the milestone of providing 8 billion litres of clean drinking water to overseas communities through partnering with businesses that either serve or save water. Their projects operate in countries where government is unable to install and maintain water supply, regions that lack infrastructure or governance and in densely populated slums. 

Machiel van Dooren, co-founder of Made Blue, said: “785 million people across the globe do not have access to clean drinking water and the effects of climate change will exacerbate the problem in the coming years.  We’re confident that the British public’s appetite for tackling plastic waste and helping the environment by embracing the refill movement will extend to helping the world’s poorest communities access clean drinking water – something we take for granted every day. As water refill stations are free to use, we hope that people who perhaps used to spend 75p on a bottle of water from a shop, will donate to this incredibly worthy cause.” 

Mike Winter, CEO at MIW Water Cooler Experts, said: “As we emerge from lockdown restrictions, we are delighted that our safe and hygienic refill stations are being put back into action to help reduce the environmental impact of single-use plastics. Our partnership with Made Blue is a wonderful opportunity to take things a step further, and we are particularly pleased to be able to offer these new fountains with no ongoing maintenance costs. We expect a lot of interest in this project and are happy to adapt existing water refill stations and fountains so they can be part of this new initiative.” 

The scheme has been designed to make it very simple for consumers to contribute, with the QR code allowing payment via Paypal, Apple Pay, Credit or Debit card. 

Bottle Up, an organisation that creates reusable bottles from sugar cane, has also pledged its support by donating 100 litres of clean drinking water for every bottle they sell.