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One of the SMAT water distribution points in Turin, Source: SMAT

Turin has waged its own war on packaged water

Turin has waged its own war on packaged water

The city recently installed the 200th water point in the metropolitan area

SMAT, Turin’s public water supply company, reported on 13 August that it has already installed 200 water points on the territory of the Italian metropolis. The latest such addition now stands proudly in the Casabianca hamlet, to the northeast of the main city.

The water points in question are the tools through which Turin is trying to change the water consumption habits of its residents. Taking a page from ‘locally sourced’ food trends, the authorities are trying to send a message that it is just as important to drink local, or as they call it ‘zero kilometre’, water.

The environmental benefits of this are vast and consumers will not be shortchanged. In fact, the water points offer three types of water: room temperature, chilled and sparkling, so no one can complain.

The water points offer three types of water – all locally-sourced

Each of the „Punto Acqua” water distribution points is a two-metre-tall hexagonal kiosk equipped with three taps: one for still water, one for chilled still water and one for chilled sparkling water. Cleanliness and hygiene of the water are guaranteed by a UV sterilizer installed at the taps. The average deliverable chilled water is 180 litres per hour.

Still water – whether at room temperature or chilled – is free of charge. 1.5 litres of sparkling cold water costs 5 cents. However, the practice is to provide the sparkling water for free for the first two weeks after the installation of a new water point. The scheduled operation of the water distribution points is programmable.

The project carries significant social and environmental importance as it contributes to CO2 emissions reduction, plastic consumption reduction, improving people’s quality of life, creating new habits and also having an economic value both for the community and for the environment. The latter is possible because it reduces the costs for water supply and ensures better air quality.

After all, what makes more sense? Buying packaged water, which was bottled (often in another region or country) and then delivered through (likely) polluting transport means or quenching your thirst with free, or cheap, local water knowing that you are also saving the environment? It seems like a simple answer, yet Western societies still need some time to get to it.

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