Image courtesy of GiveMeTap.

Access to clean drinking water is arguably the most essential component of human survival. For most of us in developed countries, this access is taken for granted. Water flows freely from the tap – whenever we wish. We use drinking water to flush our toilets and wash our cars. We allow multi-national corporations to take it from public waterways and sell it back to us packaged in plastic for $3 a bottle.

Nonetheless, it’s necessary. If you are an Eco-conscious sort, you’re probably accustomed to lugging around a stainless steel water bottle to hydrate on the go. I always have one in my purse, but have run into many a speed bump on my quest for H20. Shops that refuse to re-fill it, taps too short to squeeze my bottle under and lugging a heavy full bottle in my purse all day.

But then, of course, there are the real problems. For many in the developing world the barriers to accessing clean water go far beyond snobby shopkeepers or heavy bags, in some areas a source of clean potable water is simply non-existent.

GiveMeTap is a project developed by the UK’s Edwin Broni-Mensah that aims to take on all of these issues at once – the incredible waste caused by one time use plastic water bottles, the challenge of finding sources to fill reusable water bottles, and the struggles of those growing up without access to any clean water at all.

GiveMeTap app
Image courtesy of GiveMeTap.

Here’s how it works. You purchase a GiveMeTap water bottle for yourself, or brand it for your company. You download the GiveMeTap app which then directs you to dozens of shops, cafes, and restaurants that have signed up with the program and agreed to provide free water to anyone with a GiveMeTap bottle (currently in the UK and USA only. Sorry, fellow Canadians!)

Each bottle you purchase will fund 5 years of clean water for someone in Africa How’s that for thinking big?

The inspiration for this project came from Broni-Mensah ‘s own parents, who grew up in Ghana and brought the reality of struggling to access to clean water home. Then, as a 24-year-old in Manchester, embarking on a fitness regime that required him to drink 4-5 litres of water a day, he regularly found himself struggling to find retailers willing to fill his bottle rather than trying to sell him one. This may have been nothing more than an eye-rolling nuisance for many, but for Broni-Mensah, developing GiveMeTap was the logical next step.

It has been a remarkable success so far, providing 5334 people access to clean drinking water and over 4.8 million plastic water bottles saved from landfills. The initiative has others taking notice as well, Broni-Mensah recently won the Virgin Money “Be the Start” competition for sustainable business, and has expanded into the US with chain restaurants like Pizza Hut signing up to join the movement.

Click here to learn more about GiveMeTap, including how to purchase a bottle and how to find participating locations near you!

Feature image courtesy of GiveMeTap

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.