People from Slovenia and Bled know that the water running from our taps is clean and safe to drink. However, this is not common knowledge for many of our guests, especially those who come from large cities or places where drinking water is a problem.
Clean drinking water is a valuable asset, and for many people around the globe it is still a luxury they cannot afford. The fact that in Bled drinking water flows from every tap is not as self-evident as we may think.
Plan of the water supply system from 1912 (source: Infrastruktura Bled)
First, some basic information – the water supply system in the Municipality of Bled is managed by the local utility company Infrastruktura Bled, and the system itself is owned by the Municipality of Bled. Just a few days ago, Infrastruktura Bled published a report on last year’s drinking water supply on their website.
The parameters that apply to the supply of drinking water and water quality measurements are stipulated in the EU’s and national laws and regulations, as well as municipal ordinances. The basic purpose of these hundreds of pages of regulations is to guarantee that Slovenia provides a sufficient amount of water at all times and in emergency situations, and to ensure adequate quality and availability of water.
The Radovna – the Queen of Rivers
© Jošt Gantar
Citizens of Bled, Gorje and Radovljica should name the Radovna as the Queen of Rivers, as it supplies drinking water to more than 24,000 citizens of these three municipalities and all their guests! According to Wikipedia, the river once had quite interesting names: Radolna, Radovina, Rothwein, Radovna-Sava, and was even known among the locals as Rdečevinska reka, or the Red River. The Radovna is an alpine river that flows through a valley of the same name, which is best visited by bike or on foot. The greatest attraction of the Radovna valley is the Vintgar gorge. And if Radovna was once called Rothwein (German for ‘red wine’), Vintgar was its Weingarten (‘wine garden’).
The drinking water obtained from the Radovna is mostly provided by the Ovčje jame catchment, an underground protected water reservoir, past which leads a path along the Radovna valley.
Drinking water usage
In 2020, the Municipality of Bled consumed more than 500,000 cubic meters of drinking water, which is about 200,000 cubic meters less than in 2019. This is understandable, as the pandemic and the freeze on tourism have greatly reduced business consumption, while residential usage remained unchanged.
Tap or bottled?
© Maja Pančur
This is a hot issue, not only in Slovenia but worldwide. We fully understand that in countries where tap water is not fit to drink, people drink bottled water. However, this is by no means understandable or acceptable in places and countries with good or even very good water, such as Bled. According to the Chamber of Municipal Economy, Slovenia has one of the highest-quality drinking waters in Europe. This makes buying bottled water in Bled totally unnecessary, in particular if we consider the strain on the environment, given the resources that go into bottling water and the waste created in the process.
Tap is better than bottled
© Bor Dobrin, Sava Hotels Bled
According to the Chamber, Slovenia is very rich in drinking water, both in terms of quality and quantity, and ranks among the top in Europe. It is interesting to know that in Slovenia drinking water from the tap is 225 times cheaper than buying bottled water, and in some parts of the world it’s even 1000 times cheaper. Also, bottled water is said to be a hundred times more harmful to the environment than tap water. Did you know that the Chamber of Municipal Economy even grants companies a special certificate for the use of tap water? In doing so, they are trying to encourage companies to eliminate bottled water from their offices and meetings and offer tap water to their employees and guests. The goal of persuading the locals and guests to drink tap water is also followed in Bled.
Water fountains in Bled
In Bled, we noticed that especially our guests from abroad do not know that the water coming from the taps in Bled is potable and high quality. We decided to launch a communication campaign to remind our guests that it is easy on the environment and the wallets to fill a reusable bottle with tap water for free rather than buy bottled water in stores. We have also made a special video for this purpose.
But that, of course, was not enough. How can we ensure that drinking tap water will be available to Bled guests in the middle of a hot summer even as they stroll around the lake? For this purpose, we have set up drinking fountains, which can be found at quite a few locations in Bled. A map has been made to make it easier for guests to find these fountains.
A final point – water from the water fountains is completely safe, as the water comes from the water supply network, and it is completely free for anyone who uses it. Some hotels have decided to provide their guests with reusable bottles they can take with them wherever they go. Cheers!
Romana Purkart, Green Coordinator of Bled