In 2010, the University of Ottawa became the first bottled water free campus in Ontario. Working with the Student Union and Food Services, the campus was able to ban the sale of bottled water and bring awareness about water access issues to the campus. To ensure that the campus community still had access to free water, Facilities Service installed water fountains all over the campus. Each year, the Office of Campus Sustainability does audits of the campus water fountain network to ensure it is operating at the highest quality.
A pivotal part of being a bottled water free campus is the constant revitalization of the drinking fountains on campus. The Facilities and Sustainability team, as the stewards of the water infrastructure network on campus, undertake the task of surveying all the water fountains on campus every year, repairing those in bad condition, and installing new ones where appropriate.
In 2018, Celeste DiGiovanni, a student at the uOttawa School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies, helped revitalize the bottled water free campaign by convincing the University to install reusable water bottles in vending machines. The project, called H2Ottawa, helps reduce plastic, privatize less water, and make a statement about water as a human right.
Every day, the City of Ottawa’s central water supply provides safe drinking water to approximately 900,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers. Using the Ottawa River as its source, drinking water is treated at two purification plants and subsequently distributed through more than 3,000 kilometres of water mains before arriving at your tap. You can find out more about the condition and City water on their website.