IBWA Supports National Groundwater Awareness Week 2015

For Media Release
March 6, 2015

Alexandria, VA – Approximately 44 percent of the U.S. population depends on groundwater, underscoring the importance of continued stewardship of America’s freshwater resources, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) said today in recognizing National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 8-14, 2015.

Started 17 years ago by the National Ground Water Association (NGWA), the week spotlights a resource that for many tends to be out of sight and out of mind, groundwater—the water that fills cracks and other openings in beds of rock and sand.

“The protection and appreciation of the role groundwater plays in our lives is very important, and each of us can do something to be a good groundwater steward,” says Chris Hogan, IBWA’s Vice President of Communications.  “The bottled water industry has always recognized the importance of protecting the quantity and quality of the world’s water.  Bottled water companies that produce groundwater products (e.g., spring water, artisan water) are entirely dependent upon a safe, fresh supply of constantly recharged and replenished water for their livelihood,” Hogan notes.  “Many public water systems draw at least a portion of their water supply from groundwater, so protecting this renewable resource also helps ensure municipal water supplies are safe and treatment costs are reduced.”

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, (USGS), annual bottled water production accounts for less than 0.02 percent of the total groundwater withdrawn in the United States each year.  Even though it is a minimal groundwater user and is only one of among thousands of food, beverage and commercial water users, the bottled water industry actively supports comprehensive ground water management policies that are science-based, multi-jurisdictional, treat all users equitably, and provide for future needs of this important resource.

The bottled water industry continues to demonstrate solid environmental leadership when it comes to water conservation and efficiency.  Bottled water companies utilize and manage water resources in a highly efficient and responsible manner by investing in broadly-accepted science and technology to improve water quality, and strengthening water conservation practices.

Even with continuing growth and increased consumption, bottled water still has the smallest water and energy use footprint of any packaged beverage. The results of a 2014 IBWA benchmarking study show that the amount of water and energy used to produce bottled water products in North America is less than all other types of packaged beverages. On average, only 1.32 liters of water (including the liter of water consumed) and 0.24 mega joules of energy are used to produce one liter of finished bottled water.

In 2009, IBWA commissioned a life cycle inventory (LCI) by Franklin Associates to determine the environmental footprint of the United States bottled water industry. The results show that the bottled water industry has an extremely small environmental footprint.

As NGWA notes, the United States uses 79.6 billion gallons per day of fresh groundwater for public supply, private supply, irrigation, livestock, manufacturing, mining, thermoelectric power, and other purposes. Irrigation accounts for the largest use of groundwater, about 67.2 percent of all the groundwater pumped each day. Some 53.5 billion gallons of groundwater are used daily for agricultural irrigation from more than 407,913 wells. In fact, there are nearly 15.9 million wells serving households, cities, business, and agriculture every day.

While groundwater is a renewable natural resource that is replenished through the hydrologic cycle, the duration of the replenishment cycle is influenced by weather patterns, recharge areas, and characteristics, geologic settings and other site-specific factors.  The primary effort of protecting and managing groundwater resources must be based on a solid foundation of appropriate and reasonably applied science. The flux, flow, recharge rate, surface water influence and impact, zone of contribution, and other factors affecting a groundwater resource must be analyzed and considered in the design of a management plan.

To learn more about National Ground Water Awareness Week, including ways that you can help protect and conserve our groundwater resources, please visit NGWA’s website.  If you rely on a well for your water, please visit WellOwner.org, NGWA’s website that provides helpful information to well owners.

To learn more about bottled water, please visit IBWA’s website at www.bottledwater.org.

# # #

Media Contact:
Chris Hogan
chogan@bottledwater.org
703.647.4609

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. IBWA is committed to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates bottled water as a packaged food product, to set comprehensive and stringent standards for safe, high-quality bottled water products.

In addition to FDA regulations, IBWA member bottlers must adhere to the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice, which mandates additional standards and practices that in some cases are more stringent than federal and state regulations. A key feature of the IBWA Bottled Water Code of Practice is a mandatory annual plant inspection by an independent, third-party organization.

IBWA is proud to be an active supporter of Drink Up, an initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA), which encourages Americans to drink more water more often – whether from the tap, a filter, or in a bottle. Choosing water is always the healthy choice.

Consumers can contact IBWA at 1.800.WATER.11 or visit IBWA's website (www.bottledwater.org) for more information about bottled water. Media inquiries can be directed to IBWA Vice President of Communications Chris Hogan at 703.647.4609 or chogan@bottledwater.org.