Bottled water industry releases water-use “best practices” guidance document

International Bottled Water Association | NEWS RELEASE | January 26, 2017

Bottled water industry releases water-use “best practices” guidance document

Alexandria, VA –– Taking another proactive step to promote responsible water stewardship and sustainability, the bottled water industry has released a water-use best practices guidance document. The purpose of the report is to help ensure that the producers of America’s healthiest and favorite packaged beverage continue their successful efforts to be good stewards of the environment, the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) announced today.

“For years, bottled water manufacturers have implemented rigorous water stewardship practices in order to protect, maintain, and preserve their water resources,” says Joe Doss, IBWA president and CEO. “The bottler members of IBWA have now shared their best practices with us and this document provides a comprehensive framework for water stewardship for the bottled water industry.”

The IBWA Best Practices Framework Guidance document was produced by Antea Group (an independent third-party consultant) based on a water stewardship and best practices survey, key points from the Ceres Aqua Gauge™ framework, and common best practice examples from beverage industry experts. Antea Group collected data from 86 IBWA member plants representing 31 companies that account for approximately 70 percent of the annual bottled water produced in the U.S., by volume, says Mr. Doss.

The best practices framework is presented in five topic categories:

  • equipment check/process controls
  • meter use/water mapping
  • water recycling/reuse
  • training/education
  • supply monitoring/management

It is designed for all bottled water companies to use—regardless of production size, location, and/or development stage of their water stewardship program. Key aspects of each best practice were divided into three approach categories: initial, advanced, and leading, he said.

“IBWA members can use the information contained in this study to evaluate their current water stewardship practices against others in the industry and identify opportunities for improvement or outreach,” says Mr. Doss.

IBWA member bottlers may also consider the following:

  • Take additional steps, such as impact assessments on facility water use, to better understand operational impacts on local water resources.
  • Use the publicly available water tools as a starting point to evaluate water vulnerabilities.
  • Reach out to fellow IBWA members to share more detailed information on evaluating, implementing, and measuring the success of best practice implementation.

Bottled water already has the lowest water and energy use footprint of all packaged beverages. On average, just 1.32 liters of water (including the 1 liter of water consumed) and 0.24 mega joules of energy are used to produce 1 liter of finished bottled water, he says.

In addition, when it comes to overall water use, the bottled water industry is actually a very small and efficient water user. Bottled water accounts for just 0.01 percent of all water used in the United States.

“Even though the bottled water industry uses a very small amount of water, and is only one of thousands of food, beverage, and other commercial water users, we actively support comprehensive water management policies that are science-based, multi-jurisdictional, treat all users equitably, and provide for future needs of this important resource,” says Mr. Doss.

More information about bottled water can be found at

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Media Contact:
Sabrina Hicks

The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) is the authoritative source of information about all types of bottled waters, including spring, mineral, purified, artesian, and sparkling. Founded in 1958, IBWA’s membership includes U.S. and international 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 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 partner with Keep America Beautiful and 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.