International Bottled Water Association | NEWS RELEASE | July 15, 2009
IBWA SUPPORTS A STRONG AND VIABLE PUBLIC WATER INFRASTRUCTURE WHILE OPPOSING NEW TAXES ON BOTTLED WATER
(Alexandria, VA) – The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) today) would like to express support for the maintenance and improvement of a strong, viable U.S. water infrastructure system. Our nation’s water supply and waste water systems are in need of improvements due to the aging infrastructure. However, in a letter to members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s subcommittee on Water Resources and the Environment, IBWA’s stated its objections to proposed new taxes on bottled water. The Subcommittee is holding a hearing today on HR 3202, the Water Protection and Reinvestment Act, that seeks improve infrastructure by imposing new taxes on water-based beverages, produced disposed into wastewater, pharmaceuticals and corporate profits. .
IBWA President and CEO Joe Doss noted: “IBWA opposes singling out and imposing a tax on water-based beverages. Like all other commercial users, water bottlers pay a pre-determined rate for the use of that municipal water. It is unfair and inequitable to single out water-based beverages, including bottled water, from a myriad of other food and non-food industries and manufacturers in the U.S. that use municipal water. It fails to address the totality of the water infrastructure challenges. Broad-based funding is essential to provide a sustainable source of revenue to improve our aging water infrastructure.”
“IBWA members recognize that they, along with other commercial, residential, industrial, and agricultural users, must do their part to fund necessary improvements and expansion to our nation’s infrastructure. However, primary responsibility for such maintenance and improvement belongs to water utilities, which should be self-sustaining through rates that treat all users equitably,” Mr. Doss noted.
The beverage industry, which includes bottled water, uses minimal amounts of water to efficiently produce important consumer products. Even if we assumed that all water used in beverages comes from public water supplies, the total amount would be approximately 1/3 of one percent of all public water usage. In fact, the majority of bottled water is produced from self supplied groundwater sources.
According to a 2005 study by the Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF), annual bottled water production accounts for less than 2/100 of one percent (0.02%) of the total groundwater withdrawn in the United States each year, which is the water source for the vast majority of the United States bottled water production. Additionally, based on information gathered in the DWRF study, in 2001, 87% of the water withdrawn by bottled water companies, on average, was actually bottled for consumption by humans. Thus, bottling water is a very efficient process.
“Bottled water fulfills a critical need for citizens and first responders immediately following a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Bottled water companies also work with municipal water systems to provide the public with clean, safe bottled water when the public drinking water infrastructure is compromised or when the water does not meet state and federal health standards. To tax bottled water for water infrastructure needs is counterproductive,” Mr. Doss stated.
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.