Water Bar picks up third award

Bristol Water’s pop-up Water Bar won the Big Bang Award for Innovation at the Utility Week Stars Awards on Friday 23 June, which is its third accolade this year. The bar had also been awarded the Community Project of the Year and Outstanding Innovation Awards at the Water Industry Achievement Awards earlier in May.

In 2016, Bristol Water created the Bristol Water Bar, a pop-up bar that gives people free drinking water at events and festivals across its supply area.

The Water Bar is based on a simple premise: give customers what they expect from a water company (water) at a time and place they don’t expect it. It goes beyond the water efficiency messages and simply promotes the value of water. It is delivered in a uniquely Bristol way that taps into Bristol’s culture from the pumps themselves that nod to the thriving craft beer culture to the graphics, designed by local street artists Loch Ness.

“We wanted to recognise what customers wanted from their water company with three objectives in mind: promote the value of tap water and healthy hydration, reduce the amount of plastic waste that goes to landfill and provide a useful service to the community,” explains Customer Services and IT Director Ben Newby.

“Not only does the Water Bar have massive environmental benefits, but it has social and economic benefits as well. If people can refill for free, they are likely to drink more and stay hydrated. With the bar and stations being free as well it saves loads of money too.”

The Water Bar featured at three different public events last summer: Bristol Pride, Redfest and the Bristol International Balloon Fiesta. Over 15,000 people refilled over the summer with nearly 12,000 plastic bottles saved from going to landfill at the Balloon Fiesta alone. At Redfest, it was one of the key environmental features of the event.

This year, the pop-up bar is on the road again, visiting five events:

  • Keynsham Music Festival (Sunday 2 July)
  • Bristol Pride (Saturday 8 July)
  • Upfest (29 Saturday  – 30 Sunday July)
  • International Balloon Fiesta (Thursday 10 – Sunday 13 August)
  • Peaceful Portway (Sunday 17 September)

“The Bristol Water Bar differs from other water company initiatives, because it doesn’t look at what the city can do for us but at what we can do for the city. We look at what the city is saying and doing and tap into that community spirit,” adds Ben.