Guernsey Public Support Tap Water Campaign

October 19th, 2010 by Guernsey Water

GUERNSEY Water’s campaign on promoting tap water in favour of bottled water has received backing from the general public, with 95% of respondents from their recent survey agreeing that tap water should be made readily available for free at local establishments such as bars, restaurants and hotels.

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The survey also asked customers to rate the quality of Guernsey’s tap water, to which 77% of respondents replied either ‘Excellent’ or ‘Good’. 88% of respondents stated that they already drank tap water on a day-to-day basis, while 55% occasionally drank bottled water, although mostly for reasons of convenience or when there was no access to a tap.

The idea behind the campaign was to highlight the negative effects of bottled water, and to remind Islander’s that they have access to a very safe and cost-effective water supply, 24 hours a day.

As a comparison, a litre of tap water costs around £0.001p in Guernsey, while the average litre of bottled water costs about £1. This means that tap water is 1,000 times cheaper than the bottled variety. Also, bottled water is tested infrequently against fairly minimal quality criteria, whereas in Guernsey tap water is strictly sampled more than 7,000 times annually against over 130 different chemicals and bacteriological elements.

Environmentally, the bottled water industry is tremendously damaging. A recent study calculated that the bottled water industry in the UK generates about 33,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year through transport alone, which is the equivalent to the annual energy consumption of 6,000 homes. Industry figures state that the UK consume 1.5 billion litres of water each year from bottles made out of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – a plastic made out of crude oil, which takes 450 years to break down in a landfill site.

Director of water services Andrew Redhead said: ‘In this day and age of environmental awareness, it seems bizarre that people are still buying bottled water when they could simply buy a reusable bottle, fill it with tap water and use it again and again.”

He added: “We want local establishments to be aware of the impact that bottled water has financially and environmentally. Hopefully our campaign will encourage them to offer free tap water as an alternative to bottled water to their customers. By doing this, I am sure that customers will appreciate the efforts that the establishments are making to be environmentally aware.”

Of the 12% of respondents who don’t drink tap water, the majority of these cited taste and odour as their main reasons. Guernsey Water suggests that these customers pour some tap water in a jug and place it in the fridge for a couple of hours. This will chill the water and get rid of any residual chlorine taste in the water. In a recent taste test conducted by the Guernsey Press, customers generally could not tell the difference between tap and bottled, in and some cases preferred the tap variety.

The full analysis of the survey can be found at the Guernsey Water website or downloaded as a PDF file.

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