Thames Water is to give out 10,000 water carafes today (3 September), to restaurants, MPs, business and community groups in London, UK, in a direct challenge to bottled water producers.

The 'Tap Top' carafes have been designed to serve London's "premium-grade tap water", available to the Houses of Parliament, the water company said.

"I hope this encourages MPs to drink more tap water," said Thames Water chief executive David Owens.

The carafes have been made as part of Thames Water's 'London On Tap' campaign launched in February, to promote tap water as a viable alternative to bottled brands.

Owens added: "According to the industry's water quality watchdog, we have the best-quality water of all the major water and sewerage companies in England and Wales - and we've got a first-class carafe in which to serve it.

"Our London On Tap campaign is helping give consumers the confidence to ask for tap water when dining out. We want to get as many of the capital's eateries and bars involved as possible."

Tap Top, with its four non-drip pouring spouts forming a traditional tap head shape, can be ordered on the London On Tap website for GBP10 (US$16) (excl VAT and delivery), of which GBP1 goes to the charity WaterAid.

Earlier this week, Drinkaware, the UK responsible drinking charity, launched a GBP100m (US$1.6m) campaign to offer free pints of water to 18-24 year olds in a bid to encourage young people to evaluate their drinking habits.