Water down the tube in London heatwave

July 2, 2009

waterLondon’s transport bosses are telling travellers on the tube system to beat the heat by carrying a bottle of water with them when they venture underground.

But how many of us are refilling our bottles with tap water rather than pouring money down the tube — not to mention the cost of recycling the plastic bottles — by buying a new bottle of water each day?

Cue the National Hydration Council whose eye-catching advertising campaign to encourage people to buy more “naturally sourced bottled water” — on health grounds — featured prominently on the underground network earlier this year.

The worrying thing for the bottled water lobby is not that people are doing what would appear to be the most sensible thing and refilling their bottles from the tap, but that Britons are replacing bottled water with sugary drinks instead.

We’re told that sales of bottled water fell by 7 percent last year, with 71 percent of that decline the result of people buying sweet drinks instead. Good news for the soft drinks industry perhaps, but a worry for health officials.

Meanwhile, beneath the streets of London, the hot and flustered faces of fellow tube passengers shows just how dire it is on board the capital’s underground trains when the mercury rises.

With a decent air-conditioning system on most lines a distant prospect, Transport for London (TfL) could show it cares by offering each of its cash-strapped passengers a free TfL water bottle and the opportunity to refill them at its stations.


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Uh oh… I hope Bob didn’t go out on that transparent ledge and have his worst fears were realized….

I was just thinking that same thing!

Posted by Aaron | Report as abusive

The idea of a national hydration council is quite smart. We suffer unknowingly of dehydration. Being fully hydrated is not an easy task for a person who is 30 years old and has never experienced it before. We need to know how good it is for us. I recommend something similar to an army canteen approach. A refillable, dishwasher proof container that is portable. A person need not rely on only one but have them in the office and in their car. The source of water is important and needs to be given some improvement. Something like the water cooler system but more proliferated, free and accessible might be in order. And as will become obvious if the hydration efforts work out and actually become part of our lives more attention needs to be given to rest rooms.

Posted by Lou | Report as abusive

and how hot is it?
Also GLASS drink bottles not BPA plastic.

Posted by amicus curiae | Report as abusive

Glass bottles brings plenty risk while todays industry can recycle cans much easier. But we usually like the view of what we drink. Personally im all for water with a bit of flavor and this doesnt necessarily require sugar.

Posted by dennis | Report as abusive

I am pleased that Alexander caught sight of our eye-catching campaign, but he slightly misses the point. The Natural Hydration Campaign strives to encourage people to drink more water, period. As a nation, we really need to get into the water habit and reap the benefits of the healthiest form of hydration – whether tap or bottle is irrelevent and is largely dependent on location.

The tap vs bottle notion is a misnomer. People drink both and they complement each other rather than compete. Most people don’t refill a bottle and carry it with them in the same way most people don’t make a packed lunch and take it to work.

We have drunk the same amount of tap water for the last 30 years, so the growth of bottled water in the last decade has come in addition rather than instead of tap. It means we are drinking more water. That in itself is a good thing and that is what the growth of bottled water has achieved. The sad fact is that we still don’t drink enough. The average Brit drinks just 200ml of plain water a day (100ml from tap; 100ml from bottled water). That’s less than one glass out of the 6-8 a day we should be drinking. We really should be getting into the water habit – and particularly in a heatwave, and particularly on the underground!

> The tap vs bottle notion is a misnomer.

Whatever that is it isn’t English.

The idea that people need to be told to drink water is hilarious. Oh wait, it’s an industry lobby association with a vested industry in people buying bottled water.


The National Hydration Council whose eye-catching advertising campaign to encourage people to buy more naturally sourced bottled water on health grounds — featured prominently on the underground network earlier this year.