SCOTTISH Water has announced plans to roll out tap water refill points in every local authority area around Scotland over the next two years.

Under the initiative, councils are being consulted to identify the best locations with the aim of having the first 10 Top Up Taps installed by the end of March 2019.

The move follows the launch earlier this year of the Your Wat er, Your Life campaign in which the utility called for customers to drink tap water at home, at work and on the move as a way of reducing waste, saving money and staying hydrated.

Edinburgh has been selected as the first location for a Top Up Tap, which will be positioned outside the Scottish Parliament. The other sites being considered for the intial roll-out include Glasgow, Ayr, Dumfries, Dunfermline, Fort William, Milngavie, Oban, Inverness and Aberdeen.

The units will be fitted with technology that will enable them to digitally track water usage at each Top Up point, transmitting the data via cloud technology to specialists managing Scotland’s water networks.

The resulting data will be used to calculate cost and plastic savings, along with the volume of water being consumed.

Douglas Millican, ScottishWater Chief Executive, said: “The creation of a new network of public Top up Taps across the country as part of our Your Water, Your Life campaign, is a significant boost in encouraging more people to choose to drink tap water in their daily lives.

“Our research shows that people feel very positively towards the quality of Scotland’s tap water – now these state-of-the-art taps can provide access to enable water drinkers to enjoy it while on the go by carrying and using refillable bottles.”

A national drive to encourage people to stay hydrated by drinking water from the tap in refillable bottles was set out in the Scottish Government’s Programme for Government 2018-2019.

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I am delighted that our Programme for Government commitment to pilot the creation of a network of publicwater refill points is coming to fruition so quickly.

“By encouraging people to top up from the tap using refillable bottles, we will help cut down on our use of plastics and promote the benefits of hydration building on Scottish Water’s Your Water, Your Life campaign. I now look forward to refilling my bottle at the Top up Tap outside the parliament in the coming months.”

The Your Water, Your Life campaign aims to make tap the first choice for water drinkers wherever they are, and encourages businesses to make it readily available for staff and customers.

Zero Waste Scotland, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Scottish Natural Heritage have also voiced their support.

Water samples are tested every two minutes, on average, to maintain quality and ensure customers enjoy their supply of Scottish drinking water.