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New Water-Filling Station At Lake Mead National Recreation Area Helps Cut Disposable Plastic Water Bottle Use

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Jacob Vanlue, 17, from O'Fallon, Missouri, fills his water bottle at the water refilling station at the Alan Bible Visitor Center at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. NPS photo.

Editor's note: Due to concerns from the Haws Corporation, which has trademarked the phrase "Hydration Station," this story has been edited to remove those two words as they appear back to back.

A new water-filling station at the main visitor center for Lake Mead National Recreation Area has been in service for six months, and in addition to reducing the use of disposable plastic water bottles, use of the filtered water is proving popular with visitors. Since it's installation, the station has been used to fill 13,600 water bottles.

You'd expect to find a drinking fountain at any park visitor center—especially one in the desert—and this filling station does that job nicely, plus a little more. It works just like a standard drinking fountain but also has a shelf for easy filling of water bottles. A sensor initiates the water fill, and every time a bottle is filled, that action is automatically counted and displayed on the station.

“Word is getting around that this is the place to stop and refill your water bottle, which with the heat and everything else, that’s a really good message to have,” said Michelle Riter, a Lake Mead NRA district interpreter.

Riter said installation of the water-filling station at the Alan Bible Visitor Center is part of the Lake Mead NRA’s Climate Friendly Parks action plan to cut down on plastic water bottle waste. This plan includes initiatives to increase visitor use of refillable water bottles, increase number of filling stations in the park and collaborate with the visitor center store to sell less expensive refillable water bottles.

Once the water-refilling station was installed, Riter said they stopped selling bottled water at the visitor center store and began selling more varieties of refillable water bottles. She said the least expensive water bottle is only $2.99 and has the Lake Mead NRA logo on it along with facts about the park.

The Vanlue family, from O’Fallon, Mo., visited the store in early August, purchased a refillable water bottle and filled it at the station. After Jacob, 17, filled up his bottle, his mom, Barbara, said she was thankful for the station and the reduction of plastic water bottle waste in landfills.

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A counter automatically records how many times the water bottle portion of the station has been used. NPS photo.

It’s not just popular with families and individual visitors. Gabriel Kelsey-Yoder, Western National Parks Association (WNPA) bookstore manager, said large tour groups often stop by the visitor center and have been receptive to purchasing and using the refillable water bottles. She said she has seen campground users come to refill their water bottles at the refilling station as well because they prefer the cold, filtered water.

Park visitors, especially local hikers and bicyclists who use the trails, have been spreading the news about the new refilling station by word of mouth and through social media, Riter added. They are excited to see how many water bottles have been refilled and want refilling stations to be installed in other areas of the park.

Funding for the refilling station was provided by the WNPA. The Alan Bible Visitor Center is located just of US 93 between Boulder City, Nevada, and Hoover Dam.

 

Comments

Other than to execute its designated powers, the federal government has no role in promoting or discouraging particular behavior.

Actually, you are wrong. The government was created to promote the general welfare of its citizens. Which is why we have laws related to health, education, environment, etc. The US government has been legislating morality since it's inception.


Pick any person at random who thinks this is a bad idea and dump 13,000 plastic bottles in their back yard. See if they think it is meaningless then.

[FYI - this is addressed at no one in particular, although so far there has only been one person who thinks this is a bad idea.]


whether you look at the social habits it enforces or the cost of disposing the bottles and cleaning up the litter.

Why don't you worry about your social habits, and I will worry about mine. I don't need you telling me how to live my life. As to the "cost of disposing" or the "cleaning of litter" - this water station will have no measure impact on either.

(right click in the box and then right click "check spelling")


@ecbuck, which problems are those. The overwhelming landfills, the high number of Medicare patients suffering from emphysema, the nearly $1T spent fighting a hopeless war in Afghanistan and Iraq. I know, it is the massive amount of spending wasted on the national parks, we should privatize those, sell them off to investors, because the private sector always does a better cheaper job.

Seriously, no matter how you slice it, ending the sale of bottled water is a plus, whether you look at the social habits it enforces or the cost of disposing the bottles and cleaning up the litter.

On a separate note, why does this site disable spell checking in the comment box???


Rick-- I should of phrased my comment a little better-- I agree with you about the water- station-- I think its a great idea. I meant it seems crazy argueing about if its a good idea or not. I know we saved at least a few dozen bottles from going into the land-fill last year when we visited the Tetons by refilling our bottles at the Moose visitor center-- my wife drinks more water then a camel when hiking!!. LOL


Government initiatives often and purposefully inconvenience people with the purpose of promoting a partical behavior, in this case using re-usable bottles.

Which is a major source of our problems today. Other than to execute its designated powers, the federal government has no role in promoting or discouraging particular behavior.


I would expect an agency like the Park Service that is tasked with preserving our national resources (not exploiting them for business uses) to be at the forefront of these kinds of initiatives. Government initiatives often and purposefully inconvenience people with the purpose of promoting a partical behavior, in this case using re-usable bottles.

I applaud Lake Mead for taking the lead on this and I hope more parks do the same. I have used this particular brand of refill station at our gym and it works very nice for filling bottles. I can't say how many grimy bathroom sinks we refilled our bottles with luke warm water while at Yellowstone. They did have spickets as well in a few places, but they were also warm and wasted a lot of water.


Gutz--I don't think we are discussing "saving" water bottles. We are talking about reducing the number of them that go to landfills. That seems to me to be worth discussing.

Rick


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