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Attitudes to tap water in public

Drinking water
11 May 2017
Tap water in public

A recent YouGov study for Keep Britain Tidy found that a large portion of the population aren't aware of our rights around the availability of water out of the house.

Our bodies require a regular intake of water to survive and function, and Water UK therefore believes that an extension to the availability of tap water would be a positive step for public health.

The study showed that around three quarters of us believe greater availability of free tap water would be a good thing. However, 71% of those asked were uncomfortable about asking for free tap water without buying something else, while 37% are uncomfortable asking even when they are making another purchase.

In order to improve these figures, it is important for everyone to understand their water rights. In England, Scotland and Wales, some of the key rules are:

  • Licensed premises have a legal duty to provide free drinking water on request
  • Schools must provide drinking water for all pupils at all times
  • All UK employers must provide free drinking water for staff in the workplace at all times

Dr Jim Marshall, Senior Policy Adviser at Water UK, said:

"With 60% of our bodies made up of water, drinking well and staying hydrated is vital to health.

"Water UK therefore supports Keep Britain Tidy's call for greater access to tap water when out and about, and we believe this would be a positive step for public health."

Tap water in the UK is among the best in the world, with drinking water quality compliance at 99.96% in England & Wales, 99.92% in Scotland, and 99.83% in Northern Ireland.

Full report

Keep Britain Tidy press release