The water cooler industry in Slovakia sets foot into the future with a National Association. The first official meeting took place on May 19, 2015, where all representatives of all industry operators were invited to join.
Officially founded earlier in 2014 the Slovak Water Cooler Association, or SWCA, had its first members meeting at its headquarter in Bratislava on the 19th of May. The SWCA is hereby the latest new member of the WE (the European watercooler association) that is now representing 22 countries through 17 national associations in Europe.
The WE, a non-profit organization with its headquarter in Brussels, was established in 1993 and represents the interests of the watercooler industry. It communicates with EU-commissions to assist developing European legislation and cooperates with all related associations, it sets industry standards, performs audits, and trains and educates its members.
The SWCA represents operators, distributors and bottlers, and suppliers proven to meet the proper quality standards, hereby lead by (inter)national legislation formed by the relevant national and European directives. Members are supported by training and education and annually inspected and audited by third party independent bodies. Another important task of the SWCA is to inform the public about the standards and need for quality in this industry, and what to look for in a supplier of water & coolers. The SWCA communicates with local and national health and safety inspectors and authorities in order to protect both the operators and the end-user and guarantee a safe and healthy product is being delivered by its members.
Watercoolers are typically installed in offices, warehouses and production companies with bottled water or by a filter cooler connected to the mains water supply. They provide for a safe and healthy form of essential hydration and promote water consumption on the workplace. More and more water coolers are also installed in homes, but also in restaurants, bars and hotels, as a convenient service to replace small packaged water.
Availability of fresh drinking water for staff is not only mandatory, but many employers recognize the positive effects of good hydration for their workers. Needless to say drinking water is healthy but it also raises productivity and brings down the cost of more expensive drinks like coffee or soft drinks. A watercooler is a simple and cheap alternative for locations where there is no availability or bad piping for mains fed water, but also a clean and representative water coolers promotes more water consumption. Water coolers are therefor in popular demand and the industry has seen growth in Europe ever since it was first introduced in the early 1990’s. In Slovakia the first watercooler service companies started to operate in 1999 and by now the industry is represented by around 15 operators, some of whom are also bottling the typical 18,9 litre bottles. The market has grown ever since and now around 20.000 units are installed among (mainly) companies nationwide.
Water is a food and dispensing equipment must be maintained and served properly in order to provide for the desirable quality, health and safety of the user. Therefor the SWCA has adopted the WE - Code of Good Hygienic Practice for both Bottled water and Filter coolers and demands of its accredited members to implement the Hygiene Awareness standards as regulated in the WE – Technical manual for bottlers and distributors. A customer (end-user) is thereby insured of not only the quality of the product (drinking water), but also of the hygienic effectiveness of the equipment served by a SWCA member. Obviously also requirements are set for meeting EU standards on the field of green, environmental friendly and recycling technology and electrical components reducing the carbon footprint and securing electrical legislative compliance.
SWCA is encouraging all operators and suppliers to join as member and implement the essential standards into their operation. On the SWCA website (www.swca.sk) both members, the authorities and the public are informed about the latest updates and developments on water, equipment related products and services and industry essentials.
The first official member meeting was well attended and included presentations by the WE Director General Gustav Felix from Brussels, Alex Mesquida from NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) and various suppliers form Italy, Spain, Portugal and USA.
SWCA chairman Radoslav Liker gave an informative speech and presented the current status of the industry in Slovakia and the goals of this new platform. He stressed the importance for all industry players in Slovakia to join and announced later this year a staff-training program and further implementation of the audit and inspection protocols.
New members showed interest immediately and now the SWCA is believed to already represent a majority of the market with companies like AQUA PRO, s.r.o, Dolphin Slovakia, s.r.o, FONTANA WATERCOOLERS, s.r.o, Aqua Bron, s.r.o, PureWater, s.r.o