By Hannah Scott
One of Coca-Cola’s lead representatives to the Olympics was quoted as laughing while saying that he hopes for a hot a sunny summer with “lots of thirsty people.” But spectators at the Summer Olympics will not have to rely on Coca-Cola’s Abbey Well for their hydration needs, as there is another water resource available to consumers: tap water.
It began in 2008 when Tom Brake, an Olympics spokesperson and London Member of Parliament, actively worked to ensure that the Olympic organizers would provide tap water to spectators and athletes. “Everyone wants the 2012 Games to be the most sustainable on record. That must mean free non-bottled water for all visitors to the Games,” he said. That same year, Olympic organizers confirmed that tap water would be available to spectators and athletes of the Games.
London, however, is not the first city to provide attendees of Olympic Events free tap water. When Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010, spectators were encouraged to enjoy tap water instead of purchasing bottled water. (We heard a little rumor that Coca-Cola was upset about having to compete with tap water, despite claiming they did not see tap water as competition.)
Although spectators will not be permitted to bring in bottles of liquid exceeding 100 mL (about 3.4 fluid ounces), or “excessive food,” due to security regulations, an empty reusable water bottle will be allowed. So instead of having to waste £1.60 (roughly $2.50) on a bottle of water, spectators can enjoy tap water from designated filling stations.
We encourage all spectators and athletes to take advantage of the free water, and to bring their reusable water bottles to take back the tap in London.
Hannah Scott is a Food & Water Watch summer water research and policy intern and a senior at American University.