IBWA History

IBWA History

IBWA Is Celebrating 60 Years of Service in 2018
The story of IBWA begins in 1958, when a few forward-thinking bottled water company owners decided during a convention of the Texas Water Association that the then $50 million-dollar industry needed its own national association. Later that year, on November 6, formal incorporation documents were filed with the Texas Secretary of State, thus officially establishing an association for the bottled water industry, which was then called the American Bottled Water Association.
Six decades later, bottled water is now the No.1 packaged beverage product in the United States (by volume), with consumption at nearly 14 billion gallons and sales of $18 billion (wholesale). IBWA continues to focus on what was at the core of its original mission statement: providing the public with safe, high-quality bottled water products and educating bottled water professionals on how to produce, treat, and distribute potable water. However, our mission has expanded to include educating the public about bottled water and championing bottled water as an important choice for healthy hydration—and promoting an environ-mentally responsible and sustainable industry.
IBWA thanks its members for the many years of support to the association and our mission. You are all an essential part of our history, and it is important that we take time to recognize the industry’s growth and achievements, which would not have been possible without the hard work of our wonderful and innovative members. 
IBWA Time Line of Activities and Achievements
• On November 6, 1958, five bottled water pioneers file incorporation papers in Austin, Texas, to establish the American Bottled Water Association (ABWA).
• December 1959, ABWA publishes the first issue of Bottlers’ Report, the publication that would become the association’s Bottled Water Reporter magazine.
• ABWA holds its first annual conference in Houston, Texas, on February 28 – March 1.
• ABWA testifies at the U.S. Department of Labor hearing on compensation for driver-salesmen.
• ABWA launches its Aqua Awards program, recognizing excellence in the fields of advertising and marketing.
• ABWA members donate water after the Los Angeles earthquake.
• ABWA publishes the first edition of its Plant Technical Manual and distributes it to bottler members.
• ABWA submits written comments to the Oversight Hearings on Safe Drinking Water, identifying ABWA’s concerns: the necessity for uniform regulation, bottled water as an alternative source, examples of circumstances under the Safe Drinking Water Act in which bottled water may be a preferable alternative, and ABWA’s principal recommendations.
• ABWA testifies before the National Drinking Water Advisory Council of the EPA, to inform the Council and EPA on the regulation of bottled water and the capabilities and concerns of the bottled water industry.
• ABWA moves to Washington, DC.
• Board approves requiring all ABWA members to annually have FDA compliance analyses performed on all products and source waters, as well as test for the proposed pesticides, herbicides, and trihalomethanes.
• ABWA merges with the Council of Natural Waters—making ABWA the voice for the entire bottled water industry—and becomes the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA).
• IBWA develops a program to monitor bottled water for unregulated contaminants—establishing voluntary standards of quality long before U.S. government standards are adopted.

• IBWA publishes its Model Code for Bottled Water.

• IBWA launches its annual Buyers’ Guide to promote the products and services of supplier members.

• IBWA successful in many states in having the IBWA Model Code for Bottled Water adopted in principal as new regulation or law: states included Connecticut, Wyoming, and Ohio.

• Counsel and staff have the first of several meetings with FDA in IBWA’s effort to have the federal government adopt the Model Code.

• IBWA forms the Proposition 65 Task Force to determine the actual or potential areas of concern for IBWA members.

• IBWA revises its Model Code, including language revisions regarding operator certification and primary container date coding, and an expansion of Appendix B (increasing a list of 52 organics to include 162 items for testing) and formation of an Appendix C (which provides for testing of disinfection byproducts such as haloacids, aldehydes, and pentane extractables).

• The Improved Bottled Water Act of 1991 (HR 3545) was introduced (which was supported by the bottled water industry) and calls for uniform labeling requirements, defines the types of bottled water, and requires annual bottled water facilities inspections and the use of certified laboratories for testing.

• IBWA establishes International Council, working to share information and create conformity of safety requirements within all its chapters. The Council consists of two representatives from each of the five international chapters: Europe, Latin America, Australia, Canada, and Asia—along with two U.S. members and four supplier members.

• On August 6, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the reauthorization of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which contains IBWA’s amendment that requires FDA regulations for bottled water to be as protective of the public health as the EPA standards for tap water. If EPA issues a standard for a substance in tap water, FDA must promulgate a similar regulation for bottled water. If FDA does not issue a regulation for that substance and doesn’t indicate why it has not, the EPA regulation for that element in tap water will become the FDA standard for that element in bottled water.

• On May 13, 1996, FDA promulgates a final rule on Standards of Identity for bottled water, which IBWA first requested in 1979.

• IBWA launches website: www.bottledwater.org.

• IBWA establishes the Certified Plant Operator (CPO) Program, which tests to certify plant operators and establish an education study course to be used as a training tool for all employees.

• IBWA launches it hydration calculator, allowing consumers to input their weight and level of physical activity to compute their recommended water intake.

• IBWA members visit more than 100 members of Congress to oppose the Lautenburg bill. This legislation, introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), would have required bottled water companies to prepare consumer confidence reports (CCRs) similar to those issued by public water systems; transferred jurisdiction over bottled water to the EPA if FDA fails to meet certain regulatory deadlines; and required all bottled water labels to include the source of the water, the types of treatments used, a list of contaminants that exceed the maximum contaminant levels, and a website address and a toll-free telephone number maintained by FDA.

• IBWA develops template for member use concerning Water Quality Reports.

• IBWA works to support legislation to repeal the estate tax, which was vetoed by President Clinton.

• IBWA submits comments on FDA’s study on the feasibility of informing consumers of the content of bottled water. IBWA stated, and FDA agreed, that all consumer confidence report-type information for municipal water systems is not applicable to bottled water.

• IBWA launches IBWA News Splash, a weekly email and fax newsletter containing industry and association news.

• IBWA members donate bottled water to emergency workers in New York City; Shanksville, Pennsylvania; and the Pentagon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

• IBWA enhances its Model Code to require all proprietary brand products to include a telephone number on their labels.

• IBWA board approves a Model Code amendment that requires all bottler members to provide water quality information to consumers upon request.

• IBWA is successful in having FDA issue a direct final rule on disinfectants and disinfection by-products, including bromate.

• IBWA submits comments to FDA on how food safety and security regulations should be drafted with regard to bottled water.

• IBWA prepares and distributes to all members a recommended checklist for bottlers to use in addressing security issues.

• IBWA amends its Model Code to require all members to have written security procedures in place.

• IBWA co-sponsors the NSF International Symposium on Heterotrophic Plate Count (HPC) Bacteria held in Geneva, Switzerland, April 22-24. IBWA worked with the International Council of Bottled Water Associations (ICBWA) in developing the industry’s HPC consensus position presented at this symposium—and later presented at a World Health Organization (WHO) meeting.

• IBWA joins forces with American Plastics Council to combat reports alleging safety risks related to plastic beverage containers.

• IBWA completes “Bottled Water Path to Market,” an interactive online presentation designed to show bottled water’s path to market—from water source to finished product.

• FDA classifies bottled water as a “high security risk food product” because of its importance in providing consumers with safe, high-quality drinking water. IBWA establishes Bottled Water Security Task Force to evaluate the risks of terrorist threats to the industry.

• IBWA develops a “Grassroots Tool Kit” and distributes it to the state/regional bottled water associations to provide guidelines on how to develop relationships with local officials when operating their plants.

• IBWA members donate and deliver bottled water to Hurricane Katrina survivors.

• IBWA asks FDA to reconsider its position that bottled water delivered to businesses must have a lot number recorded by the bottler. FDA reconsidered its position and classified such deliveries as similar to direct store deliveries—thus, recording a lot number is not required.

• IBWA produces the IBWA Member Recycling Resource Guide.

• Key agencies—FDA, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Bureau of Investigations—validate the security vulnerability assessment for bottled water, known as CARVER + Shock and prepared by IBWA, FDA, and state health officials in January.

• IBWA joins the National Recycling Partnership to develop a new campaign to promote recycling.

• IBWA wins four awards from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). Most significant: the ASAE Summit Award, which is ASAE’s highest honor for associations that implement new and innovative community-based programs. IBWA received this award for member and staff efforts concerning Hurricane Katrina.

• IBWA takes advantage of the media spotlight on bottled water and its environmental impact to increase its outreach to press and other stakeholders, providing environmental facts about bottled water to virtually every major U.S. media outlet.

• IBWA survey finds that bottled water is associated most with living a healthy lifestyle. More than twice as many people selected bottled water (58 percent) as a healthy-lifestyle beverage than the next most popular choice—milk (22 percent).

• IBWA joins Facebook, launching its Bottled Water Matters profile to educate consumers, lawmakers, regulators, media, and others about the bottled water industry and healthy hydration.

• IBWA testified during a hearing to “assess the environmental risks of the water bottling industry’s extraction of groundwater” before the U.S. House Domestic Policy Subcommittee (of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee). IBWA informed the subcommittee that bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of 1 percent (.02%) of the total groundwater withdrawn in the United States each year and focused on the proactive efforts the industry has implemented to be good stewards of groundwater resources.

• IBWA adopts environmental goals, encouraging members to include water sustainability and carbon footprint reductions as critical components of the business decision-making process.

• IBWA launches www.bottledwatermatters.org website to provide consumers an online source of truthful, scientific bottled water facts.

• IBWA partners with the National Recycling Partnership (NRP) to demonstrate how implementing best practices in residential recycling programs can improve recycling rates.

• IBWA begins its tradition of being a co-sponsor of the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI, formerly the American Meat Institute) annual Hot Dog Lunch on Capitol Hill as a way to educate more members of Congress and their staff about bottled water issues.

• IBWA testifies on Capitol Hill during the U.S. Senate Subcommittee of Transportation Safety, Infrastructure Safety, and Water Quality’s hearing on “Quality and Environmental Impact of Bottled Water.”

• IBWA, with the American Beverage Association (ABA) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), successfully opposes efforts to have bottled water classified as a “diversion” in the Great Lakes Basin Water Resources Compact (Annex 2001). Instead, products containing water, including bottled water, is considered “consumptive use” and thus bottlers can use water from the Basin. IBWA was further successful in obtaining committee report language in the U.S. House of Representatives that further protects bottled water production in the Basin.

• IBWA testifies before the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, which conducted a hearing to consider the “Regulation of the Bottled Water Industry.”

• IBWA joins Twitter with @BottledWaterOrg (corporate voice of the association), @BottledH2OBabe and @bwmatters (more consumer-friendly handles).

• IBWA co-sponsors World Voice Day.

• On May 29, 2009, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Griesa (Southern District of New York) issued his written order granting IBWA’s motion for a preliminary injunction in its lawsuit challenging the New York bottle deposit law, which included bottled water. (Nestlé Waters and Polar Beverages are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.)

• IBWA begins to publish its bimonthly magazine, Bottled Water Reporter, online: www.bottledwater.org/newsroom/bottled-water-reporter.

• IBWA’s Life Cycle Inventory (LCI) Study confirms the small environmental footprint of bottled water.

• IBWA launches “Good Stewards of the Environment” video on YouTube, educating the public about the bottled water industry’s environmental initiatives.

• On September 17, 2010, Judge Robert Conrad of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina grants IBWA’s request for a permanent injunction against the false and misleading advertising of Eco Canteen, Inc., a distributor of reusable stainless steel canteens.

• ZeroWater settles lawsuit with IBWA over false and misleading statements in its advertising about bottled water products.

• IBWA publishes its “Environmental Fact Book,” which presents environmental information members can use to help answer questions from the media, legislators, consumers, and bottled water critics.

• Based on input from IBWA, the governor of Virginia, Bob McDonnell (R), reversed a decision by his predecessor to restrict the use of state funds to buy small-pack bottled water for official functions.

• IBWA partners with Earth911.com, the nation’s larger website and information resource on recycling.

• IBWA hosts a webinar on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus of federal regulators from responding to contamination to preventing it and was signed into law on January 4, 2011.

• IBWA members are now able to select between two inspection options: the traditional annual inspection, known as “Tier 1,” or a new “Tier 2” inspection, which includes being inspected for both IBWA requirements and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) standards.

• An IBWA-sponsored report by Beverage Marketing Corporation shows that the bottled water industry reduced the weight of its 500 ml containers to an average of 12.74 g by 2008—a 32.6 percent decrease in weight since 2000.

• IBWA corrects faulty Environmental Working Group report that criticized the information on bottled water labels. (For the full text of IBWA’s response, visit bit.ly/ewgfaulty1.)

• IBWA submits comments to FDA on FSMA implementation, specifically on import provisions and HACCP provisions.

• IBWA launches redesign of its BottledWaterMatters.org website.

• First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack unveil the federal government’s new food nutrition graphic, MyPlate, which replaced the former MyPyramid image as the government’s visual cue to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs). The 2010 DGAs were the first to place an emphasis on healthy hydration—encouraging consumers to drink water over sugary drinks.

• IBWA adopts bylaws for its Political Action Committee (PAC).

• IBWA opposes the National Park Service (NPS) policy memorandum that allows individual parks to ban the sale of bottled water in single-serve, plastic containers.

• IBWA members worked around the clock to supply bottled water to survivors of Hurricane Sandy, which included residents in New Jersey, New York, and other affected areas of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.

• IBWA publishes “Information Document on PET Plastic Alternatives, Recycling and rPET,” which addresses the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) “Green Guides,” updated advisories for products claiming to contain recycled content, be recyclable, be compostable, or have any general environmental beneficial claims.

• IBWA worked closely with the EPA on its voluntary ENERGY STAR program, which established energy efficiency standards for bottled water coolers.

• The “IBWA bottled water industry sustainability goals document” is published, which presents sustainability goals for the bottled water industry to reach by 2020, using IBWA’s 2009 life cycle inventory data as a baseline for progress.

• IBWA partners with Curbside Value Partnership (now The Recycling Partnership), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization formed to help communities grow and sustain their curbside recycling programs.

• IBWA launches a redesign of the bottledwater.org website.

• Despite strong opposition from IBWA, bottled water adversaries in Concord, Massachusetts, were successful in narrowly passing a first-in-the nation law banning the sale of single-serve bottled water packaged in plastic in the town.

• IBWA worked with independent consultant Antea Group to produce the association’s inaugural Water Use Ratio Benchmarking Study, which showed that the amount of water used to produce bottled water products is less than all other types of packaged beverages. On average, only 1.39 liters per liter of water is used to produce every 1 liter of finished bottled water product—including the liter of water consumed.

• IBWA supports Drink Up, a Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) initiative chaired by First Lady Michelle Obama that launched in 2013.

• IBWA, working with EPA, garnered relief for bottled water cooler manufacturers from some of the most burdensome aspects of the new ENERGY STAR standard.

• IBWA continues to defend bisphenol-A (BPA), bolstered by FDA twice offering comments on the safety of BPA in 2013: updating its January 2010 BPA statement and its website. In the states, more than 70 BPA bills were introduced in 21 states, but no BPA legislation introduced at the state level passed that would negatively impact the bottled water industry.

• IBWA releases results from its Water and Energy Use Ratio study, showing that the amount of water and energy used to produce bottled water products in North America is still less than all other types of packaged beverages. On average, only 1.32 liters of water (including the 1 liter of water that is consumed) and 0.24 megajoules of energy are used to produce 1 liter of finished bottled water.

• IBWA strongly advocates that water (including bottled water) should receive more recognition as a healthy hydration source in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans—and even proposes a new version of the MyPlate nutrition graphic—suggesting that a symbol for water should appear alongside of the current dairy symbol.

• IBWA introduces federal legislation, the Bottled Water Quality Information Act, which would make it easier for consumers to obtain clear, consistent, and comprehensive information about bottled water products.

• IBWA’s stand on the safety of BPA is again bolstered by FDA when it publishes the following decisive state about BPA on its website: FDA’s current perspective is that BPA is safe at the current levels occurring in foods. Based on FDA’s ongoing safety review of scientific evidence, the available information continues to support the safety of BPA for the currently approved uses in food containers and packaging.

• IBWA filed a Freedom of Information Act request to determine whether any of the 16 national parks that banned the sale of bottled water complied with a 2011 National Park Service (NPS) directive that laid out the requirements park units must meet in order to impose a bottled water ban. Because the NPS response was inadequate, IBWA appealed.

• IBWA’s inaugural Advocacy Award is presented to Shayron Barnes-Selby of Primo Water North America This award would be afterward known as the IBWA/Selby Advocacy Award (“The Selby”).

• IBWA testifies before the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the importance of including more pro-water consumption references in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

• IBWA participates in meetings at the White House and the USDA office in Washington, DC, to discuss bottled water’s important role in healthy hydration. The meetings offer IBWA the opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of more language about the benefits of water consumption in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the MyPlate food nutrition icon.

• IBWA begins to create social media toolkits to help members promote good news stories about bottled water on their social media platforms.

• IBWA partners with Bayer MaterialScience LLC, a global polycarbonate supplier, to issue a joint press release to encourage a fact-focused conversation about polycarbonate plastic. The organizations provide consumers with important facts about polycarbonate plastic, its many uses, and the facts about BPA.

• IBWA, though its Hydrate California campaign, coordinates the delivery of more than 15,000 gallons of bottled water—the equivalent to more than 100,000 16.9 ounce PET bottles—to the residents of East Porterville, California, a town without water due to the California drought. To show its appreciation, the County of Tulare Board of Supervisors presented a proclamation of thanks to IBWA on September 21.

• IBWA creates a series of online images and infographics that members can easily use to visually promote important bottled water messages, in the areas of healthy hydration, recycling, convenience, and cognitive performance.

• IBWA responds to the lead-contaminated public water system crisis in Flint, Michigan. Working in coordination with state, county, and municipal emergency management agencies—and emergency relief partners like Convoy of Hope—several IBWA member companies [including Absopure, Flint Culligan, Nestlé Waters North American (NWNA), and Niagara] donated bottled water, totaling more than 1.5 million bottles.

• The U.S. House of Representative’s Interior Appropriations Subcommittee passed its $32 billion spending bill, which included an IBWA-supported provision defunding the National Park Service policy that allows park units to ban the sale of bottled water.

• The U.S. House of Representatives Education and the Workforce Committee passed an IBWA-supported provision that would establish a $475,000 grant program to help states provide bottled water to schools and child-care facilities when they are faced with contaminated water supplies. This grant program would be administered by the USDA.

• The U.S. House of Representatives passes H.R. 5538, which defunds the National Park Service policy allowing bottled water sales bans.

• As part of a coalition, IBWA opposes a Department of Labor (DOL) regulation concerning employee overtime pay, which was scheduled to become effective on December 1, 2016, but was halted when a U.S. District Court judge issued a nationwide injunction against it. The final rule updates the salary level required for the executive, administrative, and professional (“white collar”) exemptions to the overtime pay provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The rule increases from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($913 per week) the annual salary threshold above which certain white-collar workers are exempt from overtime pay eligibility. IBWA provides members with a guidance document on the DOL Overtime Pay Final Rule.

• IBWA and the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC) announced that, according to 2016 data, bottled water is officially the No.1 packaged beverage in the United States––outselling carbonated soft drinks, by volume, for the first time in history. IBWA encourages members to promote this historic achievement via social media using the association’s new campaign: “Bottled Water Is No.1 for a Reason.”

• IBWA’s Bottled Water Reporter magazine wins APEX 2017 “Excellence in Publication” Award.

• IBWA members donate millions of bottles of clean, safe drinking water to survivors of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

• A Federal Court strikes down the Obama-era Department of Labor overtime pay rule, which IBWA opposed.

• The National Park Service (NPS) rescinds the 2011 policy to “expand hydration options for recreationalists, hikers, and other visitors to national parks.” NPS also stated that it chose to rescind this policy after noting that “the ban removed the healthiest beverage choice at a variety of parks while still allowing for the sales of bottled sweetened drinks.” The withdrawal of NPS Policy Memorandum 11-03 is the direct result of the tireless efforts made by IBWA members and several members of Congress to ensure that bottled water is recognized as a key component of healthy hydration in the national parks.

• FDA approves IBWA’s request to permit bottled water products that include a zero-calorie declaration on the label to use an abbreviated nutrition facts panel (NFP).

• IBWA submits written and oral comments to FDA in support of revising the current food regulations so that bottled water products can use the word “healthy” on their label. Because the usual regulatory process could take several years, IBWA also submits a separate letter to FDA requesting that it use its enforcement discretion to allow “healthy” claims for bottled water.

• IBWA publishes its Best Practices Framework Guidance document to help ensure that member bottlers continue their efforts to be good stewards of the environment.

• IBWA develops a Plant Siting and Permitting social media toolkit to assist members facing opposition to siting, permitting, or re-permitting their plants.