This year's theme for World Water Day 2011, celebrated annually on March 22, is "Water For Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge." This United Nations (UN) sponsored event is held every year to focus attention on the importance of fresh water, and to advocate the sustainable management of fresh water resources. The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) and the bottled water industry support World Water Day and recognize the importance of a safe and sustainable water supply.
Water - from the tap or bottle - is essential to life. And bottled water is a clean, safe, convenient, and healthy product that consumers find refreshing and use to stay hydrated. "The bottled water industry fully recognizes the importance of protecting the quantity and quality of water. The bottled water industry supports a strong and adequately funded municipal water system," said Joe Doss, president and CEO of IBWA in a prepared statement. "Governments, businesses, communities and individuals must work together to help protect, preserve and provide a clean, safe water supply. Most communities in America, as well as many bottled water companies, depend upon fresh, available surface water for tap water, so protecting municipal water supplies should be one of everyone's top concerns," he added.
Bottled water companies that produce purified water often use municipal water sources. Once the municipal source water enters the bottled water plant, several processes are employed to ensure that it meets the purified or sterile standard of U.S. Pharmacopeia, 23rd Revision. Bottled water companies that produce spring water products are entirely dependent upon a safe, fresh supply of constantly recharged and replenished groundwater for their livelihood.
Bottled water products - whether from groundwater or public water sources - are produced utilizing a multi-barrier approach, which helps prevent possible harmful contamination to the finished product as well as storage, production, and transportation equipment. Measures in a multi-barrier approach may include one or more of the following: source protection, source monitoring, reverse osmosis, distillation, micro-filtration, carbon filtration, ozonation, ultraviolet (UV) light or other safe and effective methods. These steps are considered effective in safeguarding bottled water from microbiological and other contamination.
Over the last several years, the bottled water industry has demonstrated solid environmental leadership when it comes to water conservation and efficiency. Bottled water companies utilize and manage water resources in a responsible manner by 1) investing in broadly accepted science and technology to improve water quality, and 2) strengthening water conservation practices. The industry is also working to bottle and dispose of packaged water products in ways that best serve the environment.
The bottled water industry uses minimal amounts of water to produce an important, healthy and calorie-free consumer product--and does so with great efficiency In the United States, bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of a percent (0.02 percent) of the total ground water withdrawn each year. Even though it is a minimal groundwater user and is only one of among thousands of food, beverage and commercial water users, bottled water companies actively support comprehensive ground water management policies that are science-based, multi-jurisdictional, treat all users equitably, and provide for future needs of this important resource.
In many parts of the world, clean safe water is unavailable or only available in limited quantities, even in stable periods without an over-arching natural disaster. While governments and the private sector work to find permanent solutions to provide clean drinking water in underserved urban communities around the world, bottled water, combined with other solutions such as filtration and bulk filling stations, is an efficient and effective means of delivering clean, sanitary drinking water where insufficient or non-existent water delivery infrastructure poses life-threatening problems. In addition, a growing number of bottled water companies are designating a portion of their income to support global programs, which help create long term solutions for the provision of water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene in underserved and developing communities.