Free drinking water – what are your rights?

Most people do not know their rights to free drinking water from businesses and public buildings, a survey says.
The Keep Britain Tidy poll says only 25% of the public know when they can ask for water for free – while 71% feel awkward asking for water from venues if they are not a customer.
This means pubs, bars, nightclubs, cafes, restaurants, takeaway food and drink outlets, cinemas, theatres, and even village and community halls – so long as they are authorised to serve alcohol.
However, these premises can charge people for the use of a glass – or their service – when serving the "free" tap water.
There is no law regarding the provision of drinking water in licensed premises in Northern Ireland.
Unlicensed premises Unlicensed premises in the UK do not have to legally supply free drinking water.
Schools are legally required to provide drinking water for pupils at all times in England, Scotland and Wales – but not Northern Ireland.
Of the people taking part in the poll, only 7% said they drink from water fountains or public taps – while 55% were concerned about the cleanliness of public water taps, fountains and dispensers.
Just 11% said they would pop into a cafe or restaurant to ask for tap water.
These include: encouraging businesses to provide free drinking water to both customers and non-customers encouraging transport providers and hubs to improve access to free water raising public awareness of the cleanliness and quality of UK tap water.

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