The Scottish Borders’ first water refill tap has been unveiled in historic Galashiels.
The new tap will enable people to top up refillable water bottles and stay hydrated when out and about.
Local MSP Christine Grahame officially switched on the tap in the town’s Market Square along with Councillor Sandy Aitchison, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Sustainable Development.
The hi-tech tap, which digitally tracks water usage and records cost savings, is part of a nationwide campaign by Scottish Water which aims to get more people to carry a reusable bottle.
The Your Water Your Life also encourages people to drink tap water throughout the day to stay hydrated. It also highlights how drinking tap water saves money and protects the planet by not having to use disposable plastic bottles.
Ms Grahame said:
“I’m delighted to see the top-up tap opening in Galashiels, it’s a simple idea that has real benefits. Having a publicly accessible tap for drinking water means people have a free, healthy option if they find themselves thirsty whilst out and about.
“Importantly it also means people are less likely to buy drinks in single-use plastic bottles which will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our local environment.”
Councillor Aitchison urged people who lived, worked and visited the town to use the new refill tap and when he topped up his own bottle with water from it described the water as “delicious”. He also said he hoped more refill taps would be introduced across the Borders.
“I am delighted to see the launch of the Borders’ first Top Up Tap in Galashiels by Scottish Water.
“It is estimated that we consume resources as if we had three planets at our disposal. This is obviously not sustainable which is why we need to see more projects such as the Top Up Tap scheme to encourage less plastics to be used.
“I would encourage local people to play their part by using this new facility responsibly which at the same time will help our local environment.”
This is the 25th top up tap installed by Scottish Water. It aims to deliver 70 public space water refill points across Scotland by the end of March 2021.
Scott Fraser, Regional Communities Manager at Scottish Water, said:
We want all of our customers to love their tap water – and to help us care for the environment that makes it available for us to use.
“This new refill tap brings the supply of clear, fresh and great-tasting drinking water right to the heart of Galashiels for people who live in and visit this beautiful, historic Borders town.
“We are urging people to get into the habit of carrying a refill bottle and filling it with Scotland’s world class drinking water.”
Additional safety and cleaning measures have been put in place on this – and all – the refill taps as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. This includes additional deep-cleaning, disinfecting and maintenance including a special coating on the water button which stops any virus and bacteria being absorbed.