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Tuesday, 22 January

British Water Cooler Association

The British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) was established in 1989 to represent the interests of the water cooler industry in the UK.

The organisation is a Media Partner to ThisWeekinFM, supplying news and comment on hydration and employee wellbeing. The BWCA's mission is to ensure that its Members offer the highest standards of quality, safety and hygiene to the consumer together with an unimpeachable product and service.

The BWCA facilitates the exchange of technical, scientific and regulatory information between Industry Members and related bodies and serves as the authoritative source of information (other than statistical) concerning the water cooler industry.

For continued membership and accreditation, Members must adhere to strict Bylaws, Codes of Practice and the Code of Advertising and Conduct and are audited for compliance annually by 3rd party inspection organisations.


The BWCA has close and ongoing relationships with key national and local government departments and agencies including the FSA, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Trading Standards and Environmental Health Departments.


At a European level, the BWCA is a Member of the European Bottled Watercooler Association (EBWA). The BWCA takes a key executive role in the activities of EBWA which represents the interests of several hundred companies in the water cooler industry throughout Western and Eastern Europe in relation to EU directives and regulations.

Latest News

Book Now For The Cooler Event Of The Year

Book now for the main event of the year for the water cooler sector – the British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) annual conference and trade show whose theme is The Journey.

The conference theme is taken from the title of a book by the trans-Atlantic rower and keynote speaker, Debra Searle.


Booking is open for the conference which takes place in Nottingham on the morning of Thursday 8 March 2018.

To book for the conference and dinner or register for the trade show - Click Here

The trade show held in the afternoon is free and complimentary refreshments will be provided throughout the afternoon.


The BWCA has announced a record number of  sponsors of the 2018 conference and trade show.  The sponsors, with the segments they are supporting, are as follows:

  • Pureflo - conference
  • Crystal Mountain – trade show
  • Waterlogic UK – registration portal
  • 4 Aces – gala dinner
  • Nupik-Flo – keynote speaker
  • Database Workshop – charity auction
  • BWT UK – Chairman’s welcome supper
  • H2O Direct – conference lunch
  • Cosmetal – Batak wall
  • Bericap UK – signage
  • Calomax - Casino

Come and see the best

Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, General Manager of the BWCA, said: “Each year our trade show grows in strength and in the number of exhibitors attending. The conference is always at full capacity and has become firmly established as the key annual event in the UK water cooler sector.

"It provides an opportunity for the industry to network, but importantly also for those procuring and managing coolers on the customer side to see a showcase of the best companies operating in the sector. We couldn’t do this so successfully without the generous support of our sponsors and so we thank each and every one of them”.

Speakers and theme

Solo Atlantic rower Debra Searle MVO, MBE, keynote speaker at the 2018 BWCA conference. The event’s theme will be: The Journey. The theme is taken from Ms Searle’s book of the same name describing her trans-Atlantic rowing feat. The Times named Debra Searle 'Britain's latest sporting heroine' and she will be sharing with BWCA members the highs and lows of her Atlantic row and her strategies for success.

Debra Searle said: “When I was alone on the Atlantic I developed a whole toolkit of mental strategies that helped me to keep my oars in motion.  Back on dry land, I became completely reliant on these strategies as tools to achieve success in my businesses and in day to day life."

She went on to say: “A study into the behaviour of top performers found that 15% of their success can be attributed to their skill level but 85% is down to their attitude.  I believe that if we can tap into that and start to proactively choose our attitude, then we can achieve more than we ever dreamed of, whether that be in our businesses or for personal goals."  She added: "Employing these tools and techniques has changed my life and my businesses forever, and I hope they can for you too."


Debra first hit the news headlines when she set out to row across the Atlantic with her husband.  Unfortunately, he had to be rescued so Debra, a novice rower, continued alone and rowed 3000 miles from Tenerife to Barbados. It should have taken them six weeks but, to achieve her goal, Debra ended up spending 3½ months alone at sea, encountering 30' waves, sharks, and force 8 squalls in her 23-foot plywood boat.

Since returning from this adventure, Debra has gone on to undertake solo and team expeditions across the globe; has launched companies; and is a published author and broadcaster.    Debra says: "When you choose your attitude anything - absolutely anything - is possible."

Other speakers

Other speakers at the BWCA conference will include Karen Wells of Zenith Global, revealing the latest industry market data; Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, General Manager of the BWCA,  talking about her 25 years at the helm of the Association; and Brendan Hanlon, from Just a Drop, celebrating with Members the Association’s continuing efforts in support of his charity in bringing clean water sources to villagers in Africa. The Master of Ceremonies at the event will be the BWCA’s recently-appointed Chairman, Jon Wicks.


New for 2018 will be a fundraising activity for delegates - a Batak Wall. This game of skill involving hand-eye coordination will help raise funds for the Association’s chosen charity, Just a Drop. In addition, as has occurred for the past two years, a highlight of the gala dinner will be a charity auction in aid of Just a Drop.

As well as hearing  from Just a Drop’s Brendan Hanlon, the BWCA will be announcing details of the next project in Africa to receive funding, so transforming the lives of yet another village which previously had no access to clean, safe water.

BWCA Wins Two International Awards

The British Water Cooler Association has won first prize in two prestigious Aqua Awards – the international awards scheme run by WaterCoolers Europe (WE). The categories BWCA entered were:

  • Best Promotion of Health & Hydration – won first prize.
  • Best Environmental Practice/Green Initiative – won first prize.

Votes for all five categories came from a combination of the votes from the WE jury, the National Association jury and votes from the website. The trophies were presented to Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, BWCA General Manager who attended the ceremony with the immediate past Chairman of BWCA John Dundon. The new BWCA Chairman, Jon Wicks, was not able to be present.

Health & Hydration

The Health & Hydration Award recognised the benefits of a series of 6 Hydration Fact Sheets produced by the BWCA for various professions, advising them on hydration, safety and standards and the need to choose an accredited BWCA member.

Environmental Practice

The Best Environmental Practice/Green Initiative Award to BWCA recognised the value to the sector of is ‘5 for 5 Pledge’ – a scheme which asks Members to improve still further over five areas – Environment, Water Management, Social, Financial and Workplace, including employee well-being. The Pledge is designed to encourage not only improvements but to celebrate what is already being done in these categories so that Member companies can demonstrate to customers just how strong are the sustainability credentials of the sector and of individual companies.

Latest Blogs

Choosing a Water Cooler

If you procure soft services including water for the buildings you serve, here are our four tips for making the best choices - and details of an upcoming exhibition.

Tip 1

Water coolers are the sustainable choice

Water coolers are highly sustainable and that applies to bottled water coolers as well as mains fed coolers. Bottles are collected, cleansed and reused many times over whilst main fed coolers of course use water from the mains.

Tip 2

Remember, not all water coolers are equal

Whichever style of water cooler you choose, make sure of one thing. Choose a supplier that is a Member of the British Water Cooler Association (BWCA) which  is the leading trade body ensuring top standards of safety and hygiene. BWCA Members must adhere to strict Codes of Practice and best conduct and are independently audited annually. By dealing with a BWCA Member you are getting the best. To find a BWCA member company - Click Here

Tip 3

Choosing the type of cooler

Whether you choose a mains fed or bottled water cooler depends on your building’s needs.

Points for Bottled Water Coolers to consider are:

  • Do you have space to store bottles?
  • Are staff willing and able to lift the bottles?
  • If storing bottles, is the storage area away from direct sunlight, clean, dry and devoid of chemicals?
  • Is it important to you to have natural or spring water which some bottled water cooler providers can offer?
  • Is there a relatively small number of people using the cooler or someone readily able to keep an eye on the need for replacement?
  • Is access easy for delivery and collection of bottles?
  • Points for Main-fed Coolers - also known as Plumbed in units - to consider are:
  • Do you have plumbing at the point where you need the cooler?
  • Are the building users happy to have the cooler in a fixed spot with no flexibility to move it on a frequent basis?
  • Is it important that you don’t have to store and handle bottles of water?
  • Are you seeking a lower cost option? POU coolers are usually cheaper to run?

Tip 4

Opt for a one-stop-shop when making your selection.

If procurement is on your list this year, make a date to visit the major water cooler trade show – the British Water Cooler Association Trade Show on the afternoon of Thursday 8 March in Nottingham for a one-stop-shop showing the best and latest water cooler technology from around the world. Free to attend and with free parking and refreshments, this is a great means of getting information (plus a glass of water or a cuppa) quickly and efficiently without the usual drudgery of visiting large general purpose trade shows.

For details visit

The Power Of Association

Corporate social responsibility programmes can make a real difference - to the community, to charities, to the companies who operate such schemes and to their workforce. Of course the bigger the company, invariably the bigger the impact.

For smaller companies, such activities  can seem to be out of reach. That’s where the ‘power of association’ comes in.

A fine example is the work by the British Water Cooler Association (BWCA), the most powerful group in its sector, which has shown how to harness the goodwill that exists amongst its members, both large and small. Companies that may not manage to have much fund-raising clout alone have been able to do a massive amount of good as part of a Trade Association.

The BWCA launched its first industry-wide CSR programme just two years ago. Having reviewed the options and set some simple criteria, the Association decided to support the charity Just a Drop which brings sustainable water sources to people for whom clean water and sanitation was a luxury not a necessity.

In that short period of time, this modest-sized industry has harnessed enough money to fund two new boreholes in Africa, transforming the lives of two villages and with funding already in place to create additional boreholes. The companies concerned could not have achieved this alone.

Apart from the benefit to the villagers who were previously without safe water and for whom water-borne disease was rife, there have been other benefits closer to home. Member companies have been able to build team-building exercises around fund-raising activities plus there have been valuable publicity for those companies taking part. In addition, the charity auction and fun fund-raising activities staged at the Association’s annual conference and trade show in two successive years has created opportunities for bonding between companies that, outside that forum, are often in keen  competition.

Says Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, General Manager of the BWCA: “Our Members are entrepreneurial and busy but they also love to help those less fortunate, as do many people across industry. By harnessing their generosity through the Trade Association, we’ve been able to create an effect that is greater than the sum of the parts. It’s been fascinating to see just what the ‘power of association’ has been and we plan to do more of the same for a good cause.”

Bricks And Water - Why Water Matters For Construction Workers

A new publication has been launched by the British Water Cooler Association which focuses on keeping construction teams well hydrated in line with your duties under the CDM Regulations.

Construction workers wearing hot, protective clothing are vulnerable to dehydration – even as the weather cools. As part of a series of hydration fact sheets called Why Water Matters... The BWCA has just published ‘Why Water Matters for Construction Workers’, reminding businesses that, by law, they must provide healthy hydration in the workplace.

Dehydration can affect concentration and impair performance. On a busy construction site, this may lead to mistakes and accidents that should be avoidable.

The new fact sheet describes the best means of providing on-site hydration and gives useful advice on using and choosing a water cooler.

Supplying essential refreshments to workers on-site can often best be done by using water coolers. On sites not yet connected to the mains – for example on major new build or infrastructure projects - bottled water coolers can be the only means of supplying potable water in an economical and convenient way.

Phillipa Atkinson-Clow, BWCA General Manager, said: “Coolers and bottles must be kept clean and bottles of water stored correctly. Make sure you deal with a British Water Cooler Association accredited member, who must adhere to the stringent BWCA hygiene guidelines for the peace of mind that brings”.

Atkinson-Clow added: “Staff are a key resource so it’s important to keep them hydrated, alert, efficient and happy. With this in place, business is likely to thrive and something as simple as a water cooler can make a big contribution to the health and well-being of staff”.

A quick visual guide on checking whether you are correctly hydrated is available and. as this is a colour-coded chart, the guide is useful even for those for whom English is not a first language.

There are currently six fact sheets, describing ‘Why Water Matters for...’ a range of sectors:

  • Hotels
  • Food service and catering workers
  • Children
  • Construction workers
  • Public sector workers
  • Salons and spas.

These provide information of the hydration benefits offered by water coolers and reminding us that the BWCA is the leading Association representing those who supply and distribute water coolers and related products and services. The Association sets rigorous standards of hygiene and safety for their Members through mandatory audits.

The hydration fact sheets also describe the importance of promoting healthy hydration for staff and other building users. The fact sheets give advice on choosing the correct coolers for particular needs and locations and the factors to take into account in choosing a mains-fed or bottled water cooler for particular requirements.

Finally, each fact sheet includes is a simple visual, colour-coded guide helping people to check whether they are correctly hydrated.

If you would like to request copies of the fact sheets, email specifying in the subject box the title of the Fact Sheet(s) you require.