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New water fountains set to make a splash in Moreland for NAIDOC Week

Yarra Valley Water and Moreland City Council are celebrating NAIDOC Week with the launch of a new O Fountain which features Indigenous artwork painted by local artist, Robert Young.

The drinking fountain in Morgan Court in Glenroy, is the first O Fountain to be decorated with Indigenous art in Melbourne. Its distinctive, sculptural O shape makes it perfect for displaying artwork while still being functional as a fountain.  A total of six new drinking fountains will be installed in the Moreland area in time for the start of summer.

The drinking fountain was supplied by the "O Initiative", a movement which aims to reduce the number of disposable water bottles purchased by changing the way people drink tap water in public spaces.

Robert Young was chosen to create the artwork for the O Fountain because of his unique Indigenous storytelling ability, and his commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment.

The fountain’s design symbolises the need to refill our drink bottles with fresh, clean tap water rather than buying single-use plastic bottles, which can often end up in the local waterways threatening the fish that live in them. The inspiration for the artwork also came from Mr Young’s own family.

“The painting is the story of my grandmother, when she was a little girl. She watched her father Tommy Johnson who was an old black tracker who found people that were lost. 

“On Easter, he would catch a Pondi Murray Cod.  When cleaning, he would take the stomach lining, lay it out on butcher paper and tell the story of the fish through the veins of the fish. The veins are like the river it lived its life in,” he said.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty said that using one of the new water fountains is an easy way for locals to refill their drink bottles.

“We have made great strides in reducing our reliance on bottled water in recent years, however we can do more. Australians spend more than $736 million on bottled water each year, making it one of the most common and expensive single-use purchases nationwide,” Mr McCafferty said.

“These new fountains have been strategically placed at some of the busiest spots across Moreland, so it will be more convenient than ever for locals to refill their drink bottles when they’re out and about.”

Yarra Valley Water has gifted these fountains to the local community through Choose Tap. This is a national partnership of water retailers, started by Yarra Valley Water, to achieve better outcomes for communities and the environment.

Over the last few years, Choose Tap has worked with councils and water retailers around Australia to install more drinking fountains than ever at parks, walking tracks and busy shopping precincts. The fountains make it easier for people to refill their drink bottles instead of buying bottled water.

People can check out the drinking fountains closest to them by visiting choosetap.com.au/tap-finder

For more information on the O Initiative visit theoinitiative.com