Wessex Water

Wessex Water & MIW

In 2019, Wessex Water announced a mission ‘to reduce the use of single-use plastic bottles by installing water refill points in towns and cities across England’s South West. With a catchment area covering Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, most of Wiltshire and parts of Gloucestershire and Hampshire. Tying the project into the work of Refill.org, Wessex Water commissioned MIW Water Cooler Experts – Refill’s official water fountain partner – to manage the technical processes relating to the venture.

The Brief

For this project the key was to find the right equipment and the right locations. Wessex Water commissioned MIW to:

  • Provide advice on installation sites, logistics, technical requirements, and the correct equipment to serve the project.
  • It was integral that any equipment supplied to Wessex Water should be fully compliant with the water authority’s exacting guidelines.
  • Beyond that, the Project Management Team were looking for outdoor drinking fountains that were safe and easy to use, easy to maintain, hardwearing and vandal resistant.
  • Requiring continuity across the project, Wessex Water requested MIW’s advice on the customisation of the water dispensers, asking that each unit should be repainted in the brand’s unique colouring, and prepared for the application of bespoke livery created for the project.
  • Post-delivery, Wessex Water required MIW to service and maintain the water refill points, working to a planned schedule.

The Process

The fact that many of the outdoor drinking fountains would be installed in coastal locations, prompted MIW to recommend the Elkay EZH20 4400 Drinking Fountain  for the project. Created from marine grade stainless steel, these bottle fillers can withstand exposure to the damp, salty air without any negative effects. The powder-coated finish further protects the body of the water dispenser from rust and corrosion. And the MIW team enhanced this protection with the application of an impermeable weather-resistant lacquer once they had hand-finished the bespoke paintwork.

As well as being weather resistant, the Elkay EZH20 has a solid, vandal resistant build. And as with all of the mains fed water coolers supplied by MIW, the unit is WRAS approved, meaning that it is guaranteed to comply with all UK water authority guidelines. Push button activation means that it’s easy to use, and the unit requires very little maintenance. Helpfully, it is also connected to the new Elkay direct ground burry adapter, which can reduce installation time by as much as 80%. This can make a real difference for companies looking to install their own equipment, or to use third-party fitters.

Because it was integral to the project that the outdoor drinking fountains be accessible year-round, the MIW team recommended that they be customised with an upgraded freeze resistant core lining and additional insulation. And this was managed before dispatch to Wessex Water.

The Completed Project

Working to a pre-agreed schedule, the MIW team sourced, customised and delivered 15 Elkay outdoor drinking fountains to Wessex Water during a three month project between May 2019, and August 2019. The project was completed to time and to budget, without encountering any unforeseen difficulties or delays.

Post installation, MIW worked in collaboration with Refill and Wessex Water to promote the availability of the new refill points to the public.

Due to the success of the original installations, in October 2020, Wessex Water commissioned MIW to supply and customise 10 further water bottle fillers. These hydration stations will be ready for installation at various points across the catchment area in early 2021.