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Free H2O to go

The new mobile hydration stations are easily accessible and great for the many big events and tournaments held in the city every year.
July 23, 2013 - 12:24 PM

KAMLOOPS – With the construction of water parks and pools, the city offers residents cool places to play in the dry summer heat, but a new program will help them stay hydrated as well.

On July 1, the city rolled out a brand new mobile hydration station — a unit that can fill up to four bottles at a time with cooled water. The station has since been to Pioneer Park and Hillside Stadium for events. City facilities manager Jeff Putnam says from what he has seen the stations are a welcome addition.

“When we were hosting tournaments we would get questions about where to get water,” Putnam says about where the original idea came from.

While all major facilities in the city do have water fountains the questions about where to get water while at many outdoor events led the city to start considering how to better deal with drinking water availability. Parks director Byron McCorkell saw similar stations at an event in Edmonton last year and after emailing a picture of the station to Putnam, parks staff quickly began researching the mobile hydration station.

The first of the two $10,000 units ordered by the city arrived at the end of June from Surrey company Waterfillz and the other is scheduled for delivery at the end of August. The hydration stations were purchased from funds allocated to the parks department under the capital budget and Putnam expects ongoing costs to be minimal.

Up to four bottles can be filled at a time with the hydration station, which needs to be hooked up to a tap and electrical outlet to provide the cooled potable water. Putnam says there is no compromise when it comes to drinking tap water instead of bottled.

“It's better, absolutely better.” Putnam says of the quality of Kamloops tap water over store bought bottled water, “We have famous water.”

People eagerly lined up on Canada Day, where temperatures soared to more than 38 C, to make use of the free water station at Riverside Park. This past weekend the unit was in constant use Putnam says, as those attending the track and field championships at Hillside Stadium tried to beat 35 C temperatures. The station is currently sitting at Hillside Stadium, where it will stay until the next big tournament.

One of the stations will remain at the Tournament Capital Centre year-round while the second station will travel to other tournaments and events around the city. During the winter one unit will be indoors at TCC and the other on standby.

“We expect (the mobile stations) will affect bottled water sales,” Putnam says, “but overall as a city our goal is to be more sustainable, this is a step in the right direction.”

The hydration stations are the first purchased by the city, however they aren't the first to be found inside city limits. Thompson Rivers University has been offering water bottle filling stations since 2010 and between the six different campus locations and the thousands of reusable bottles handed out during orientations the program is helping to reduce the amount of waste at university.

To contact a reporter for this story, email, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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