Orkney shoppers, revellers, church-goers and Ba’ players are being encouraged to carry a refillable water bottle and make use of a new Scottish Water Top up Tap, which is the latest addition to Kirkwall’s town centre. 

With the festive period getting into full swing, members of Scottish Water’s local team were joined by representatives of Kirkwall Business Improvement District, the local police and Orkney Islands Council to launch the new facility.

The state-of-the-art Top up Tap, which is located at the junction of Broad Street and Palace Road near to the main entrance of St Magnus Catherdral, will allow people to top up their water bottles with free, great-tasting water.

It is part of Scottish Water’s Your Water, Your Life campaign which encourages more people to carry a refillable bottle with them and drink tap water on the go to stay hydrated, save money and help protect the local environment by reducing the amount of waste.    

The Kirkwall tap is the 17th to be installed across Scotland so far, with the total expected to rise to 70 over the next 18 months.

Local Constable Simon Hay said: “The festive period is often a busy time for Police in Orkney with more nights out and large street gatherings. This often involves an increase in the consumption of alcohol.  

“The addition of this tap is an excellent opportunity for the public to keep hydrated during this time. I encourage everyone to use this fantastic addition to Kirkwall. Have fun, be safe and keep hydrated!” 

Scottish Water network maintenance operative Jon Smales, who helped install the tap, said: “We’re delighted to be able to bring one of our hi-tech taps to Kirkwall, rounding off our first full year of installing Top up Taps across Scotland. We want to make it easier for Orcadians and visitors to stay hydrated on the go and enjoy our great tasting water whenever they are out and about.    

“We’re encouraging everybody to top up from the tap as much as possible and get into the habit of carrying a refillable bottle with them when they leave the house. As well as the health benefits of drinking more water, it also saves you money and helps reduce waste.”    

Since the first tap was launched in Edinburgh in October 2018, more than 40,000 litres of water have been drunk from Scottish Water’s expanding collection of Top Up Taps – the equivalent of 120,000 standard 330ml single-use plastic bottles.