Bottled water industry provides clean, safe drinking water to Hurricane Harvey survivors
September 1, 2017
Alexandria, VA – As part of the ongoing relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the bottled water industry is playing a vital role by providing millions of bottles of clean, safe drinking water to those in need in Houston and along the Gulf Coast. This is being done through direct donations, giving water to charitable organizations, and contracts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“As with past disasters, the International Bottled Water Association’s member bottlers and distributors began responding, some even before the hurricane made landfall, to provide substantial supplies of bottled water to those affected,” said Bob Hirst, IBWA vice president of education, science, and technical relations.
“IBWA member companies are working around the clock to get bottled water to impacted areas as quickly as possible, and our industry will continue to provide bottled water as needed to the ongoing relief efforts.”
In addition, some IBWA members have also responded to meet the need for nursery water and infant formula.
“IBWA staff continues to coordinate with FEMA through daily conference calls with other food manufacturers and distributors. We also provide IBWA members with points of contact for delivery of bottled water and other supplies to FEMA and other organizations—such as the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, AmeriCares, and federal and local emergency management agencies,” Hirst said.
The bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters and other catastrophic events. Bottled water companies have responded to the need for clean drinking water following a variety of disasters—including the recent lead contamination of Flint, Michigan’s public water supply; the contamination of Toledo, Ohio’s public water system by a toxin from an algae bloom in Lake Erie in 2014; the 2013 chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia; Superstorm Sandy; and Hurricane Katrina; as well as the numerous floods, wild fires, tornadoes, and earthquakes that occur every year, he said.
“But it’s important for people to understand that bottled water is available in times of emergency because the industry is strong and viable throughout the year,” explained Hirst.
Having access to safe, clean drinking water is important to everyone’s survival, but this becomes paramount during disasters such as Hurricane Harvey when municipal supplies may become compromised. During these occurrences, bottled water is a necessary and reliable option to deliver clean, safe drinking water, he said.
The bottled water industry is proud to help people meet their hydration needs during emergency and crisis situations, as well as providing safe, healthy water on an everyday basis at homes, offices, and on the go.
Hurricane Harvey survivors in need of bottled water should contact either the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, AmeriCares, or their federal and local emergency management agencies.
For more information about bottled water’s role in emergencies see IBWA’s video, “Bottled Water – Always There When You Need It.”
More information about bottled water can be found at www.bottledwater.org.
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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 a supporter of Drink Up, an initiative of former 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.