Bottled Water Industry Supports Access to Clean Water for World Water Day 2019
International Bottled Water Association
March 21, 2019
Alexandria, VA – In recognition of World Water Day 2019, members of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) are highlighting the importance of people having access to safe, clean drinking water. The United Nations’ World Water Day is always held on March 22 and this year’s theme is “Water for All.”
“Water is essential for human life –– vital for the health and proper functioning of the body,” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications. “People should drink water in all forms – whether from the tap, filtered or bottled. And its especially important for people on the go to stay hydrated by choosing water over other less healthy sugary drinks.”
“As the bottled water industry promotes water consumption, it also supports a strong public water system, which is important for providing citizens with clean and safe drinking water. But there are times that public water systems are compromised, and when this happens, bottled water also plays a vital role by providing the clean drinking water that people need.”
“Because the bottled water industry is strong and viable year-round, with bottling plants located throughout the country, it is well-poised to step in and quickly provide clean drinking water in times of emergencies,” said Culora.
Currently bottled water companies are continuing to supply bottled water to residents of Flint, Michigan, in the aftermath of a lead contamination of the public water supply that started in 2014, as well as recent flood and tornado survivors in the Midwest and South. In recent years, IBWA members have supplied bottled water to residents facing public water contaminations in Toledo, Ohio, which was caused by a toxin from an algae bloom in Lake Erie, and in Charleston, West Virginia, following a chemical spill. The industry regularly acts in response to various hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters as they occur, she said.
The bottled water industry recognizes that clean drinking water remains limited or unavailable in many parts of the world. Bottled water companies are doing their part to help when possible and regularly assist communities around the world by providing clean, sanitary drinking water in areas where insufficient water delivery infrastructure poses serious health risks.
The bottled water industry also does its part in protecting and preserving water resources. Bottled water is both sustainable and renewable, and has the lowest water footprint of any packaged beverage.
“Water conservation is something that has always been critical to the bottled water industry’s mission,” said Culora. “Bottled water companies are good stewards of the environment, and they are continuously developing efficient ways to use and conserve water sources in order to help ensure that future generations have access to these sustainable water resources.
Bottled water companies are continuously dependent upon a safe, fresh supply of water. Contrary to many false claims, they do not “drain aquifers” or use more water than can be replenished. Constructing bottled water plants are a very costly endeavor, and the water used must be renewable to justify the investment that bottled water manufacturers make to bring a source to market. It is a business decision made after extensive analysis of source water sustainability and plant impact. Once a bottling plant is built, water use and withdrawals are closely monitored by the company.
In addition, the industry actively supports comprehensive water use and groundwater management policies that are science-based, multi-jurisdictional, treat all users equitably, and provide for future needs of this important resource.
Research shows the the bottled water industry is a minimal user of water, and bottled water production accounts for just 0.01 percent of all water used in the United States. To put that figure into perspective, total U.S. bottled water consumption is about 18 billion gallons of water per year, which is the amount of tap water New York City uses in just 2.5 weeks.
Bottled water has the lowest water footprint of all packaged drinks. In North America, bottled water uses only 1.39 liters of water (including the 1 liter consumed) to produce a 1 liter product, according to a 2018 Antea Group study for IBWA.
For more information about bottled water, visit bottledwater.org.
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 partner with Keep America Beautiful and 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.