Back to Tap Water

Published on April 23, 2014 um 14:48

Summary of your idea

Water is an irreplaceable and fundamental source of nutrition. Thus, having access to safe drinking water for free or at least at a reasonable price should not be a luxury. Health concerns mostly raised by successful marketing campaigns of bottled water companies lead to change in water consumption pattern: Tap water has been perceived as an unsafe, even hazardous source which highlights bottled water as the only reliable option! Bottled water associated health and environmental problems have become a worldwide issue. In Turkey, almost everyone prefers bottled water; therefore, the problem is greater due to lack of standards and monitoring. A recent study shows that 105 bottled water companies out of 115 are violating water quality and safety standards which pose great health risks. In addition, production and distribution of bottled water require huge amount of energy creating pressure on the environment. Plus, higher demand on bottled water than tap water leads privatization and unsustainable management of water sources. Children (age 0-14) comprise 1/4th of the overall population in Turkey and they spend most of their time at school. Their access to affordable and safe drinking water should be ensured for a healthy generation. Although tap water is already in drinking quality in Turkey, pricey and unhealthy bottled water is still preferred due to negative perception of tap water in the society. Therefore, safe drinking labelled water taps shall be placed in school canteens and cafeterias for children to refill their cups and bottles. Children will be informed about consequences of bottled water and ensured that the tap water is perfectly safe to drink. The biggest obstacle is the negative fame of tap water which shall be overcome by promotion and children spreading the knowledge about disadvantages of bottled water.

Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

The main target is school children (age 7-14) in Turkey. Replacing bottled water with tap water in schools will be beneficial: They will consume more and better quality water which is good for their health. Because, once they start drinking more water, they will eventually consume other unhealthy drinks such as coke less. Moreover, children will share their knowledge and good experiences about tap water which would result in market pressure for an affordable and safe drinking water and shifting back to tap water. Successful implementation of Back to the Tap Water project will create a healthier and more environmentally friendly generation. Consequently, less pressure on earth and more sustainable management of water sources will be achieved.

Plans for implementation and sustainability

The business model will put the schools and owners of school cafeterias and canteens in the center. They need to agree on the necessity of safe and cheap drinking water for children. In case of a derivation of water quality standards or taste concerns in tap water, additional filters and small units can be placed to the tap. These units shall be provided by the waterworks companies which are the existing drinking water suppliers of the schools and giving them a chance to contribute to sustainability which will be a good marketing for them as well. The company will get more publicity by collaborating in a good project for children. There will be running costs as the tap water is not for free and the profit loss from selling of bottled water shall be covered to some extent. For that reason, children can be charged a small fee for daily water consumption.

Your profile

Cansu Birgen completed her Bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering in the Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She focused on renewable energy and sustainable technical systems during her Industrial Ecology Master's Programme as a European Union scholar. In the first year, she studied in the Netherlands (TU Delft/Leiden University) and participated in the design challenge for entrepreneurship in TU Delft. The project involved preparing a business plan including risk, operations & financial assessment for prototype implementation of a desalination system (based on Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion) in Curacao island for the client Bluerise BV. In the second year, she continued her studies in Sweden (Chalmers University of Technology). She did her thesis in collaboration with Göteborg Energi and Chalmers, and the topic was Liquefied Synthetic Natural Gas from Woody Biomass -Investigation of Cryogenic Technique for Gas Upgrading. She involved in numerous voluntary projects aiming to contribute to sustainability such as food waste prevention and utilization. After completing her masters degree, she moved back to Turkey. Currently, she is writing articles about sustainability related topics in several online platforms, and trying to implement projects for a better world!

Stage of Idea

conceptual stage

Your idea has a positive impact on

environment, education, health, youth

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July 4, 2014 10:25