The community of Nicholson has recently received a water refill station provided jointly by East Gippsland Water and the East Gippsland Rail Trail. The water refill station, located on the East Gippsland Rail Trail at Nicholson near Sarsfield Road, will serve walkers, joggers and cyclists who use the 94km track, joining Bairnsdale to Orbost. The refill station is equipped with a wheelchair accessible bubble tap, a drink bottle filling point, and a dog bowl. Donated by East Gippsland Water, the “Choose Tap” branded refill station was installed by the East Gippsland Rail Trail with help from Nicholson River Landcare and the Green Army, as part of a region-wide healthy lifestyle drive. The “Choose Tap” initiative, the brainchild of Yarra Valley Water, was introduced to promote a healthy lifestyle by encouraging communities to drink tap water in preference to soft drinks and bottled water. “Choose Tap” also makes financial sense, with Australians currently spending about $600 million each year on bottled water. In fact, the cost for one litre of bottled water is about the same as 6000 glasses from the tap, making tap water a practical choice. Locally, the Choose Tap initiative is being driven forward by East Gippsland Water, working in partnership with community groups and the East Gippsland Shire Council. Said East Gippsland Water’s Managing Director, Bruce Hammond: “Choosing tap is much more environmentally friendly than drinking bottled water. In Australia, currently less than 50 percent of PET plastic bottles are recycled and are littered or end up in landfill. Drinking tap water avoids this unnecessary waste. “By installing water refill stations throughout East Gippsland, we are making tap water more accessible, looking out for the environment and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.” Chairman of East Gippsland Rail Trail Committee of Management, Michael Oxer added: “We would like to thank East Gippsland Water for their generous contribution of this water refill station. This strongly demonstrates the sort of critically important support from the local corporate sector which is needed to help ensure the long term viability and sustainability of the East Gippsland Rail Trail.” In East Gippsland, “Choose Tap” water refill stations can also be found at Newlands Arm, Bairnsdale’s Howitt Park, and along Bairnsdale’s Mitchell River running track at Lind Bridge, Howitt Park footbridge and the Port of Bairnsdale. There is a further refill station due to go on line in Cann River very shortly. East Gippsland Water is also in discussion with community groups to install stations in Lakes Entrance and Mallacoota.