Latrobe Valley residents can fill their water bottles up for free at local businesses thanks to a new initiative by Gippsland Water and the Latrobe Health Assembly.
Gippsland Water managing director Sarah Cumming said more than 40 businesses across Morwell, Moe, Traralgon and Churchill had already signed up to supply free drinking water in their shopfront.
“Anywhere passers-by see the blue ‘free drinking water available here’ sticker, they can go in and use the business’ dispenser or jug to fill up their water bottle,” Ms Cumming said.
“We’re aiming to help keep shoppers hydrated while reducing the number of plastic water bottles that end up in landfill.”
Latrobe Health Assembly executive officer Ian Needham said the initiative aimed to provide residents with an alternative to sugary drinks that was also good for the environment.
“About 14 per cent of Latrobe Valley residents drink sugary drinks every day compared with the state average of 10 per cent,” Mr Needham said.
“We hope that by offering free drinking water as an alternative, residents can get hydrated on-the-go.
“We also hope people will support local businesses who are providing the cost-effective option of free water.”
Traralgon Chamber of Commerce president Luke Henderson said he and other local business owners were happy to supply fresh water for shoppers.
“We’re proud to support this initiative and do our part to support a healthy community and environment,” the WorkforceXS owner said.
To celebrate the launch of the initiative, Gippsland Water is hosting a series of pop-up events in each major town’s central business district. The first is at Legacy Place in Commercial Rd, Morwell on Tuesday 17 December.
“Come down between 10am and 2pm, grab a free drink bottle and a snag from the Lions Club’s free sausage sizzle and chat to our team,” Ms Cumming said.
The initiative is jointly funded by Gippsland Water and the Latrobe Health Assembly and based on a concept developed through the Gippsland Community Leadership Program which trialled refill locations in Trafalgar in 2017.
A list of participating businesses can be found at gippswater.com.au/free-drinking-water