University students campaign drinking tap water

The project Võta kraanist! (or Take it from the Tap), which was initiated this spring with the help of the University of Tartu and the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre, celebrates installing 34 high water taps in the University of Tartu buildings. The last water tap will be officially opened on 18 December at 14:00. University of Tartu’s Rector Professor Volli Kalm will open the event with a welcoming speech and everyone will get the chance to change their regular plastic bottle for a brand new reusable Võta kraanist! water bottle.

Simple math shows that tap water is up to 600 times more environmentally friendly than drinking bottled water. “Every litre of drinking water I take from the tap saves the equivalent of 1 kg of oil shale worth of energy,” said Kristjan-Julius Laak from the Võta kraanist! team.

As part of the project, more than 2 000 reusable water bottles have been distributed and less than a thousand are still to be distributed. Taking into consideration that an average person drinks 52 litres of bottled water annually, if 2 000 people started using their water bottles, they have already saved up to 2.4 GWh worth of energy. This is the amount of electric energy that the city of Tartu would have to pay for in a month and a half.

Lauri Tammiste from the Estonian Environmental Investment Centre said that the ingenuity of this project is in its simplicity. “Access to pure drinking water is a UN human right. This project reminds people to use this right,” he adds, explaining why the project won the Negavatt scholarship by the Centre.

Tests have shown that Tartu tap water is chemically very similar to world famous bottled water brands, such as Evian. “The employees and students at the University of Tartu have adopted the idea of drinking tap water very well,” said University of Tartu’s Rector Volli Kalm.

The event marks completing the goals set in the university, but it is not the end of the project. “We have already started cooperation with a couple of companies, who have contacted us to join our project,” said Laak. He says that Võta kraanist! helps everyone who is interested in promoting tap water to do it with prints and know-how.

Source: TARTU UNIVERSITY via Estonian Review

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