Drinking water fountains to be installed in public spaces across Ireland

Drinking water fountains to be installed in public spaces across Ireland

SOME 350 drinking water fountains will be installed in public spaces across Ireland at a cost of €2m.

Announced this week, the rollout is designed to reduce the use of plastic bottles by providing widespread public access to drinking water.

"Drinking water fountains are a fundamental asset for local communities,” Ossian Smyth, Ireland’s Minister of State with special responsibility for Communications and Circular Economy, said as he launched the scheme.

“Access to public drinking water can change how water is consumed when people are out and about to prevent waste and support a circular economy,” he explained.

“Almost five million drinks are consumed in single-use containers each day in Ireland, a large volume of which are plastic water bottles,” he added.

“Plastic bottles often end up littering our streets, rivers, beaches and seas.

“This can easily be avoided, if we start refilling our reusable water bottles instead of buying single use ones."

A €2m investment from the Circular Economy Fund will support the phased rollout of the water fountains, through Uisce Éireann, Local Authorities and the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, over the next few years.

The first phase, beginning later this year, will see drinking water fountains installed within public buildings, including county buildings and libraries where there is an existing mains water supply.

Phase two, which will begin in 2025, will see the scheme extended to public outdoor spaces such as community centres, swimming pools, parks, greenways and beaches.

"There are numerous benefits to ensuring wider access to free, high quality drinking water in public spaces,” Local Government Minister Darragh O’Brien said following the announcement of the scheme.

“It’s convenient for the users, it reduces plastic bottle litter, and it adds to the offering of the particular location.”