Thames Water

Thames Water, GLA and MIW

In October 2018, Thames Water and the London Mayor’s Office announced plans to install 100 drinking fountains across London. Working in collaboration with Thames Water, the GLA (Greater London Authority) aimed to reduce waste plastic through the provision of free-to-use public drinking facilities. Having previously worked with MIW Water Cooler Experts on the installation of 20 bottle filling stations at key areas across the capital, the GLA sought the advice and support of MIW to bring the “Drinking Fountains for London” project to fruition.

The Brief

The Thames Water/GLA project involved a number of unique criteria, as well as the typical groundwork relating to the largescale roll out of drinking fountain installations.


  • Working to OJEU (Official Journal of the European Union) tender guidelines and TED (Tenders Electronic Daily) an online portal version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the EU, dedicated to European public procurement, MIW successfully bid for and were awarded the contract.
  • The initial phase of the project was planning. MIW would be required to attend a series of planning meetings with Thames Water and the GLA at City Hall in London to advise on logistics, equipment, site location and other related concerns.
  • It was essential that the drinking fountains selected for installation should be fully compliant with Thames Water’s stringent water authority guidelines.
  • The selected drinking fountains must be durable, user-friendly, inclusive, low-maintenance and vandal-resistant, capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions in exposed locations without reduction of quality or function.
  • Once a suitable model of drinking fountain had been discovered, MIW would be required to organise and oversee the customisation of each one, pre-installation. The units would be painted and branded according the specific requirements of the “Drinking Fountains for London” project. A custom-made 3 dimensional stainless steel water droplet would also adorn each unit on installation which was manufactured in north east of England.
  • Post installation, MIW would be required to provide continued scheduled sanitisation visits, support and aftersales service for 25 years subject to satisfactory performance reviews.

The Process

Working with the company’s global partner, Elkay, MIW Water Cooler Experts was able to identify, commission and supply 100 drinking fountains that met the designated Thames Water/GLA requirements. Specialists in WRAS-approved (Water Regulation Advisory Scheme) equipment, MIW had little trouble ensuring that the units were fully compliant with strict water authority guidelines, as advised by Thames Water’s Technical Division.

The MIW team worked closely with Thame Water’s Water Regulation Team and project managers in order to fully understand equipment and site requirements and offer advice on any necessary upgrades to ensure the longevity of the units being installed.

The greatest challenged posed by the “Drinking Fountains for London” project was the customisation of the 100 drinking fountains to be installed across London. This element was essential to the GLA/Thames Water brief and included the acquisition of specialist paint coverings and the hand-painting of each individual unit, as part of MIW’s quality control the team worked to a 0.25mm tolerance on each painted wave design. To ensure an identical finish, paint RAL codes were laser scanned, simultaneously future-proofing the units against any potential damage. Should any damage now occur, the drinking fountains can be easily and seamlessly repaired without marring the aesthetics and branding. As well as the intricate hand-painting, vinyl was also applied using laser guidance, to guarantee pin-point accuracy and continuity. To ensure the expected finish, MIW also engineered, project managed and fitted the marine-grade stainless steel droplet which sits on top of every “Drinking Fountains for London” refill station.

The Project Continues

At the time of writing June 2019, MIW has successfully delivered 40 of the initial 100 “Drinking Fountains for London” project drinking fountains, in line with the expected timetable. The remaining 60 units have been carefully planned and will be installed by the end 2020. The project is perfectly on budget.

Going forward, Thames Water and the GLA will look at adding further “Drinking Fountains for London” project installations for MIW to begin work on but for MIW this is merely the upscaling of the original project – the same amount of planning goes into the preparation of 100 drinking fountains as say 400.

The “Drinking Fountains for London” project has been a significant undertaking for MIW Water Cooler Experts. With Thames Water committed to servicing the drinking fountains for a minimum period of 25 years, the “Drinking Fountains for London” project will continue to be a prime focus for MIW.