Olympic sized drought


August 1, 2012   |   Posted by Emma Synnott

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Who would have thought that after weeks and weeks of rain there could be a shortage of water at Olympic venues this week? We are certainly not talking the rivers and canals which are flowing freely but the far more immediate question of the drinking variety.

London 2012 is the first games in recent times to offer free drinking water. Not since certain global beverage manufacturers managed to hoodwink the world into believing that paying for tap water to be bottled was better than drinking it directly from the tap, has there been such a reversal of fortunes for the humble bottle of water.

The fight to have drinking water available free to spectators at these games is one that was fought and won some time ago. It is a huge moment for the events industry and for event-going public. Finally the event sector will need to follow London 2012′s lead and provide accessible and free water for its spectator’s at all future major events.

That’s all good, provided you don’t run out of the stuff! LOCOG have frankly been surprised by the level of demand for water and have been caught somewhat short. It is day five of the games and we have seen queues at all venues so far for the precious liquid. Some would argue this is about people trying to squeeze the most out of their tickets including avoiding paying for water. But when you are a family of four, the basic need for rehydration can cost you 6.40. So, rather than this being about people being tight, I think it demonstrates that affordability remains a concern.

Today, we heard from LOCOG that they have a plan for urgent resupply of drinking water and deployment of more fountains across venues. As victims of their own success let’s hope they get these logistics sorted quickly so that the return of drinking water from the tap goes down in history as a triumph and not a damp squib.

Emma Synnott

July 2012

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