Water-use conservation efforts showcased on World Water Day
Alexandria, VA –– Year after year, the bottled water industry continues to shrink its water use in production, said the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today in support of World Water Day 2017.
This year’s World Water Day theme focuses on ways to reduce and reuse water, the United Nations announced.
“Minimizing water use has long been a part of the bottled water industry’s legacy, protecting, maintaining, and preserving water resources for future generations,” said Jill Culora, IBWA’s vice president of communications.
“The bottled water industry is continually developing new and innovative ways to conserve this precious resource.” Some of these measures include:
- Auditing total water use at their facilities
- Reducing groundwater extraction through improved water processing and bottling processes
- Looking for leaks in all of their piping and tanks
- Planting drought-resistant vegetation at their facilities
- Reminding employees to be good stewards of the environment and encouraging water conservation
- Implementing water use restrictions at their facilities
- Implementing ultra-efficient cleaning methods inside plants to reduce water usage when cleaning reusable 3 and 5-gallon bottles for water coolers used in homes and offices
- Reducing the use of cleaners when sterilizing water pipes, storage tanks, and finished products
- Managing water withdrawals in a manner that ensures the long-term viability of the watershed
- Using hydro-geological evaluations on springs to assess any potential impact on local groundwater levels and stream flows
As a result of these water-use reduction efforts, bottled water has the lowest water footprint of all packaged drinks, using just 1.32 liters of water (including the 1 liter of water consumed) to produce a 1 liter bottle product, a 2015 Antea Group study for IBWA found. (To read more, click here.)
In addition, the bottled water industry is also a very small and efficient water user. Bottled water uses only 0.01 percent of all water used in the United States. Put into context, the entire U.S. bottled water market is about 13 billion gallons; New York City goes through that amount of tap water in one week, said Ms. Culora.
The bottled water industry recognizes the importance of protecting the quantity and quality of the world’s water. Bottled water companies that produce groundwater products (e.g., spring water, artesian water) are entirely dependent upon a safe, fresh supply of constantly recharged and replenished water for their livelihood. The sometimes perpetuated idea that bottled water companies “drain aquifers” is a falsehood. Setting up a bottled water production facility is a costly endeavor, and it is a business decision made only after extensive analysis of source water sustainability and plant impact. Depleting the resource is never part of the business model, she said.
“Bottled water is only one among thousands of food, beverage, and commercial water users. The bottled water industry actively supports comprehensive groundwater management policies that are science-based, multi-jurisdictional, treat all users equitably, and provide for future needs of this important resource.”
In addition, the industry supports strong municipal water systems because bottled water companies that produce purified water products often use municipal water sources. But purified bottled water is not “just tap water in a bottle.” Once the municipal source water enters a bottled water plant, several processes—including reverse osmosis, deionization, and filtration—are employed to ensure that it meets the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) purified water standard, she said.
“Choosing to drink water is a smart and healthy decision and promoting greater consumption of water from all sources, including bottled water, will support the efforts of communities striving for a healthier lifestyle. And, for those who want to eliminate or moderate calories, sugar, caffeine, artificial flavors or colors, and other ingredients from their diet, selecting water is the right option—whether from the tap or in a bottle.”
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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 water bottlers , purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA's membership includes U.S. and international water 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 water 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.