Bottled Water Group Responds to Alleged Impacts

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has been—and will continue to be--supportive of the U.S. Conference of Mayors initiative to determine the importance of municipal water and the alleged "impact of bottled water on municipal waste."

The association said it will participate in the fact-finding process and share detailed information that demonstrates the important role of bottled water as a healthy beverage-of-choice; the industry's commitment to recycling, environmental stewardship, and protection and sustainability of natural resources; and the comprehensive US Food and Drug Administration and state regulations and industry standards that help ensure bottled water safety and quality.

According to a press release, IBWA supports improvements to water infrastructure and, in the event user fees or other funding mechanisms are put in place, would consider supporting funding of those improvements via rate increases that treat all rate payers equally. Bottled water companies that use municipal water systems are rate-payers; their production and sales have no relationship to water infrastructure challenges. And, just as local governments invest in providing safe municipal drinking water, bottled water companies invest many millions of dollars in developing water sources, production plants, packaging, and safety and quality measures. Yet, bottled water is available at a variety of price points, with an average per-gallon cost of $1.64, according to A.C. Nielsen.

The association said it was concerned that the mayors' report frames the issue as a "bottled water versus tap water" debate, possibly causing confusion and discouraging consumer choice of this important bottled beverage.

IBWA stands ready to continue its work with the conference, mayors, and other civic leaders across the country, the release said, to address the need for safe drinking water and to help promote comprehensive environmental conservation and stewardship policies.

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