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phase one

Public spaces to get drinking water fountains as part of new scheme announced today

€2 million in funding from the Circular Economy Fund will be made available for the rollout.

A NEW PLAN to install drinking water fountains across the country has been announced by the Government.

The scheme will see drinking fountains installed in public buildings like libraries during its first phase, which is due to start later this year.

The second phase will see fountains installed in outdoor public areas like beaches, parks and greenways. 

Minister of State Ossian Smyth and Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien made the announcement today and said the aim of the scheme is to reduce plastic bottle use and provide widespread public access to drinking water, as required by the EU’s Drinking Water Directive.

Overall, the Department said it aimed to install 350 fountains around the country over the next few years. 

€2 million in funding from the Circular Economy Fund will be made available for the rollout of public water infrastructure through Uisce Éireann, Local Authorities and the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, according to the Department.

“Drinking water fountains are a fundamental asset for local communities,” said Smyth. “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.”

“Almost 5 million drinks are consumed in single-use containers each day in Ireland, a large volume of which are plastic water bottles. Plastic bottles often end up littering our streets, rivers, beaches and seas.”

He said this littering” can easily be avoided if we start refilling our reusable water bottles instead of buying single use ones”. 

O’Brien said there are “numerous benefits to ensuring wider access to free, high quality drinking water in public spaces”, including convenience and reducing litter.

“Today’s announcement will also help to deliver on our Programme for Government commitments, improve access to water which is a key requirement of the recast Drinking Water Directive.”

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