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South Australia taps into plastic reduction 

Around 80 new drinking water fountains will be installed across the state over the next four years in a bid to reduce the impact of single-use plastics on the environment.

On average, Australians use 130 kg of plastic per person each year, but only 9 percent of that is recycled. This means that some 130,000 tonnes of plastic will find its way into our waterways and into the ocean every year unless we drastically change our habits.

South Australia is aiming to become a national leader in reducing plastic waste, with new legislation to ban single-use plastics in the state coming into effect in March this year.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the wave of new fountains will help the community embrace a sustainable substitute for bottled water.

“By making simple changes to our daily habits like carrying a reusable bottle, we can eliminate the need for unnecessary single-use plastic and drastically reduce their impact on our environment,” he said.

“I have seen the positive benefits recently in my own local community of Brighton, where more than 10,000 litres of clean, safe drinking water has been consumed at the Bindarra Reserve’s Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) drinking fountain since it was installed last year, saving an estimated 17,000 plastic drinking bottles that would normally head to landfill.

“With around 370 million single-use plastic water bottles making their way to landfill each year in Australia, public drinking fountains are vital assets operating in parks, ovals and community hubs that can help stem the impact of plastics and inspire sustainable behaviours.”

Smart water solutions

Adelaide has already begun installing smart water fountains, which allow their water-use to be remotely monitored. The smart fountains also generate cleaning and maintenance schedules, while built-in solar lighting keeps them illuminated and easy to find at night.

SA Water’s Australian-made drinking fountains have a low-lying arm bubbler on the side to ensure they are accessible for children and wheelchair users and many have in-ground, foot-operated dog bowls.

“I encourage everyone to track down their closest drinking fountain through SA Water’s BYOB mobile phone app, which uses an interactive map to display more than 1000 drinking water fountains operating across South Australia,” Speirs said.

“It’s as easy as remembering to bring your own reusable bottle when you leave the house for exercise or a day out with the family, and filling-up is free.”

SA Water is working with metropolitan and regional councils to install the suite of new drinking fountains at various locations over the coming months, building on the recently selected sites of Littlehampton, West Beach, Two Wells and the newly opened Hope Valley Reservoir Reserve.