Fill up in Portage la Prairie
You can fill up your refillable bottle with water at any business or organization in Portage la Prairie with a Blue W in the window as part of a new initiative through Southern Health Sante Sud. (Aaron Wilgosh/The Graphic)
If you notice a large, blue ‘W’ in the window of your local grocery store or library, feel free to drop in and fill up your water bottle as the sign means the businesses and organizations involved are participating in a national tap refilling initiative called Blue W where anyone can fill up a refillable water bottle with municipal tap water for free.
“We commend the municipalities as early adopters of the project,” says Healthy Living Facilitator with Southern Health, Dianna Meseyton-Neufeld. “We want folks to recognize what the Blue W is and what it means. We hope it will become a habit that people take their refillable water bottles wherever they go because they see water as a healthier beverage choice. By providing more and easier access to water, the chances are they will drink more of it.”
The goals of the program are to help people make healthy choices for hydration, avoid single-use plastic and to appreciate the hard work of municipal water providers. As part of the first formal Blue W project in Manitoba, nine municipal governments within the Southern Health-Santé Sud region are partnering with Public Health-Healthy Living to bring the Blue W program to the area. The first five to sign up are the cities of Morden, Winkler and Portage la Prairie, the Town of Niverville as well as the RM of Westlake‒Gladstone.
Besides the health benefits of drinking water, the Blue W program puts participating communities and their businesses on a national map and allows them to positively promote the quality of municipal water supplies.
“Our municipal partners have great water resources and we want them to be recognized for the good services that they offer,” adds Meseyton-Neufeld.
All of the 26,000, and growing, Blue W filling sites across Canada are shown on a map at bluew.org website, so anyone with a phone or other mobile device can easily find them.