Aug 20, 2014

IBWA Provides Facts About Bottled Water, California's Drought

IBWA dispels claims that the bottled water industry is a major contributor to the drought

IBWA Bottled Water Facts California Drought

Several recent media reports have incorrectly claimed that the bottled water industry is a major contributor to California’s ongoing drought, according to a press release from the International Bottled Water Assn. (IBWA). The association provided the following facts about this issue:

Water & a Healthy Lifestyle

  • Everyone needs to hydrate; that is a fact. Hydrating with water is not only one of the healthiest practices, it is also the most efficient from a water use standpoint. Drinking water, whether tap or bottled, uses the least amount of water to produce compared with any other beverage.
  • Americans need to drink more water for their health, according to nutritionists. Most people drink both tap and bottled water. Forty percent of water consumed today is bottled water, thanks to its presence on the shelf next to other beverages. It is an important source of water for hydration.
  • Drinking zero-calorie beverages, such as water, is regularly cited as a key component of a more healthful lifestyle. With one-third of American adults being overweight and another one-third obese, bottled water is an important and healthy choice. It has helped eliminate billions of calories from the diets of Americans who choose it over sugary beverages.

Water Use & Bottled Water Production

  • The amount of water used for bottling water in the U.S. is small — less than 0.02% of the total groundwater withdrawn each year. While that figure may vary slightly by location, the amount of water used for bottled water is only a small fraction of overall water use in California, or any other state.
  • To put it in context, the entire U.S. bottled water market was about 10 billion gal in 2013. In contrast, the city of Los Angeles goes through that amount of tap water in less than three weeks. According to the UCLA Institute for Environment and Sustainability, at about 80%, agriculture is the largest user of water in the state, followed by urban residential use at 13%.
  • Most of the bottled water that comes from California water sources is sold in California. In fact, the vast majority of bottled water companies in the U.S. use local water sources and distribute their products to nearby towns and states.

A Strong Environmental Focus

  • The bottled water industry has a long and deeply held tradition of effectively and responsibly protecting and managing our vital natural resources. Sustainable, protected and naturally recharged water sources are the single most important aspect of this business.
  • The bottled water industry supports comprehensive water resource management that regulates both the quality and quantity of groundwater, treats all users equitably, provides for the sustainability of the resource, is multijurisdictional in nature — as water does not respect the boundary of state lines — and balances the interests and rights of those using this natural resource today and in the future.

Bottled Water Regulation

  • Bottled water is comprehensively regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and by federal law, FDA regulations governing the safety and quality of bottled water must be at least as stringent as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards for tap water. In fact, bottled water regulations are more stringent than tap water standards when it comes to lead levels, coliform bacteria and E. coli.
  • All packaged foods and beverage products, including bottled water, have extensive federal labeling requirements.

Supporting Public Water Systems

  • The bottled water industry supports a strong public water system, which is important for providing citizens with clean and safe drinking water. In fact, many bottled water companies use public water sources for their purified bottled water products.
  • IBWA strongly endorses the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. This new law supports a strong U.S. public water infrastructure and creates the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority. This program will provide low-interest federal loans to communities, which will reduce the cost of financing large water and wastewater infrastructure projects.