The EMWD program aims to promote tap water and reduce plastic bottle landfill waste

■ Mary Ann Morris / Contributed

Hemet and San Jacinto high schools within the service area of Eastern Metropolitan Water District (EMWD) are participating in a water bottle filling station program sponsored by the water district. The stations, similar to drinking fountains, include an overhead filling system to accommodate reusable water bottles. The goal, according to EMWD, is to reduce the number of plastic bottles entering landfills and to promote the value of tap water.
Each fill station has a counter to track the number of bottles filled. Almost 36 fill stations have been installed in schools, parks, community centers, shopping centers and recreation facilities. EMWD is actively pursuing grant funding to offset the cost of future fill stations.
High schools in Hemet, San Jacinto, Moreno Valley, Temecula and Murrieta have taken part in the program. Every high school within EMWD’s water service area has been offered to participate in the program and more are anticipated to be completed this spring.
The program will be offered to middle and elementary school campuses after all high schools have been serviced. EMWD promotes the use of refillable bottles as part of its commitment toward both conveying the value of tap water and environmental stewardship, according to a news release.
“Our hope is that every school in our service area will eventually have a water bottle fill station installed so that students and staff may continue to realize the health benefits of high-quality water while also reducing the amount of plastic waste produced,” said EMWD President David Slawson.
Among schools that had fill stations installed are San Jacinto Leadership Academy and Mountain View High School, both within the San Jacinto Unified School District. District officials recognized EMWD during their February 15 board meeting and said the fill stations have been a success on campus.
“We extend a huge thank you to EMWD for our community partnership in promoting health and wellness for our schools” said Tammy White, San Jacinto Unified School District’s Director of Nutrition Services. “The new water bottle filling stations at San Jacinto Leadership Academy and Mountain View High School are already in full use as the kids really like them.”
EMWD participates in classroom education programs and does outreach to more than 60,000 students. The district conducts nearly 45,000 water quality tests each year.

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