Tomorrow I will announce that the University is to phase out the sale of bottled water on campus. We will be the first Australian university to do so and this is the largest move of its kind so far anywhere in Australia. The idea was initiated by our own students and it is a demonstration of Step 39 of our Strategic Plan, to reduce our ecological footprint.
By 22 March 2011, which is World Water Day, bottled water sales will have discontinued in all campus outlets.
Bubblers and water refill stations have been installed around the campus with the support of the ACT Government to ensure that access to fresh, free drinking water is increased.
Australia’s first “WaterVend” machines will also be installed on campus. These will dispense filtered, ‘flash-chilled’, still, sparkling or flavoured tap water into the customer’s own refillable container at a lower cost than bottled water and without the environmental consequences.
A number of people internally and from external organisations have worked on this initiative, but in particular I acknowledge one of our students, Greg Stewart, our sustainability planner Beth Mitchell, the action group Do Something!, the ACT Chief Minister’s Department, all our campus vendors, Sigg (who are supplying refillable bottles) and WaterVend.