Youngsters Paid Tribute To One Of Dumfries' Former Residents When They Unveiled A New Water Refill Tap In the Town

The high tech Top Up Tap has been installed by Scottish Water on Queensberry Square as part of its national initiative to encourage people to carry a reusable bottle and stay hydrated on the go.

Primary 2 pupils from Noblehill Primary School donned 18th century outfits and recited some poems by Robert Burns. They used drinking vessels from around the same time as Scotland’s national Bard who lived in the town when they became the first users of the town’s new water tap. Two older pupils marked the launch by playing the bagpipes and a chanter.

They were joined by whisky tasters from one of the town’s oldest businesses, whisky and wine specialists TH Watson. Clad in a colourful tartan outfit director Brian Gibson – who run the area’s Drambusters Whisky Club – sampled water from the new tap and described it as:

pure, crisp clean and extremely refreshing.

Two rescue dogs and volunteers from Dumfries and Galloway Canine Rescue Centre also came along to try out the blue tap to highlight how four-legged residents can have their drinking bowls topped up from the tap too.

The refill point is the fourth to be installed since Scottish Water announced it would create a network across the country to offer people access to fresh, clean drinking water at the push of a button.

Scott Fraser, Regional Communities Manager at Scottish Water, said:

It’s fantastic to be able to bring one of our taps to Dumfries as part of our Your Water Your Life Campaign – this is our most southerly tap. We’re encouraging everyone – local residents, workers in and visitors to the town – to make full use of the tap year- round by topping up their reusable bottles when they’re out and about. It can benefit health and wellbeing, saves money and helps reduce waste and the impact on the environment.

The unit, which is connected to the mains water supply and inspected regularly, digitally tracks the water usage and records both cost and plastic savings. A recent Scotland-wide study found that almost two thirds (65 per cent) of people now carry a refillable water bottle with them at least some of the time.

Youngsters are amongst the biggest users of refill bottles and schools teach children from an early age about plastic pollution and about how precious the water cycle is.

Pupils from Noblehill Primary School loved filling their bottles from the new tap. Headteacher Kathryn Fraser said: “This tap will help promote and contribute to a healthy lifestyle, reduce litter and help minimise the amount of plastic in the environment which fits well with our school eco aims and priorities. This is a great addition to Dumfries town centre and we have no doubt many people will make full use of it. We’re delighted to support this campaign to encourage people to make the most of the lovely, fresh tap water we have in this country.”

Dumfriesshire MSP Oliver Mundell was at the launch of the tap switch on. He said:

We are fortunate to live in a country with a fantastic supply of high quality water.  Like many people I like nothing better than a refreshing drink of tap water at home. Taking the extra step and carrying a re-usable bottle with me to top up is an easy and logical next step. This habit will be encouraged by the Scottish Water Top Up Taps like this one in Dumfries. It is win-win – good for the planet and for our pockets.

Councillor Jim Dempster, Chair of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Nithsdale Area Committee, said:

The ‘top up at the tap’ initiative is a wonderful investment by Scottish Water.  I am delighted Dumfries has been chosen as only the fourth place in Scotland to have this facility.  It’s obviously a huge benefit to the locals and visitors who will can fill up their water bottle for free and stay hydrated. It also helps the area become more economically friendly be reducing the number of plastic bottles being used.

Vice Chair of the Nithsdale Area Committee, Councillor Tracey Little said:

This is a fantastic facility to have free access to. Scotland has some of the best tap water in the world and it’s to the credit of Scottish Water that such a facility is available in the middle of Dumfries.

As part of its Your Water Your Life Campaign, Scottish Water plans to work with every local authority in Scotland to identify suitable locations for its network of Top Up Taps. This is the fourth tap to go live to date with others already operating in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ayr. Taps in Dunfermline, Oban and Aberdeen will soon be unveiled.

Each unit is plumbed into the public water supply and fitted with technology which will enable them to digitally track water usage at each spot, transmitting the data via cloud technology to the specialists managing Scotland’s water networks. Data loggers inside will provide information which can be translated into cost and plastic savings and the volume of water used.