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Water Fountains Spout Clean Green Outcome

Media release

7 September 2011

Water Fountains Spout Clean Green Outcome

Bottled water not only hits the pockets of Aucklanders but is rapidly becoming one of the greatest polluters of the very oceans that feed our pristine Hauraki Gulf.

On average New Zealanders use over 100 plastic bottles a year per person. Many sadly find their way into our steams, our landfills and our pristine Gulf. Efforts are being made to recycle but the fact remains we are not only wasting money we are potentially killing off our ocean life.

A clever initiative in the Sydney suburb of Manly was spotted by the trustees of the Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust in 2010. The local council has installed over 16 water bubblers dispensing over a million litres a year, saving an estimated two million bottles from entering their local environment. Needless to say, the Trustees were inspired.

"We have some of the purest tap water in the world here in New Zealand and at the same time arguably the best Gulf resource to protect. We knew we just had to make a start no matter how small" said Chairman Graeme Moore.

Spurred on by Mayor Len Brown's call for Auckland to be "the most liveable city in the world", the Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust got to work researching options.

Project leader, Kate Hastings, explains; "The Trust needed a solution that not only provided clean filtered water but also enabled us to spread the word," adding; "The old schoolyard fountain has its place but when we discovered the Manly solution we realised we were onto a real winner."

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The Auckland versions have clean, bold signage on a unit housing its own filtration systems so the units will work even on an island with no reticulation system.

Having set a goal of spearheading the installation of water fountains in and around the Gulf, the Trust approached Council and was enthusiastically received. John Joachim of the (Water) Transport division of Auckland Council was not only sympathetic but shared the vision of a cleaner safer Gulf for all.

"The Council saw that not only was this great for the environment but it provided a significant asset to locals and visitors alike," Joachim went on to say. "The pilot we have underwritten sees initial installations at Downtown, Devonport and at Matiatia wharfs, with a goal of eventually covering all the gateways to the Gulf."

So could Auckland be a plastic bottle free city? Trust Chairman Moore says; "Why not. If we can make a small start and also help visitors and locals enjoy the Gulf without adding to its burden then we are well on the way."

Ends

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