IBWA POSITION STATEMENT
Bottled Water Industry Response to U.S. Conference of Mayors' Water Council meeting
The US Conference of Mayors (USCM) on May 1, 2008 convened in New York City a joint meeting of the USCM Mayors Water Council and the Municipal Waste Management Association, an environmental affiliate of USCM, to examine new information on the economic and public health benefits of local government investment in municipal water and sewer infrastructure and services. The meeting was a follow-up to directives in the USCM Resolution No. 90, which encouraged the compilation of information regarding the importance of municipal water and the alleged “impact of bottled water on municipal waste.”
The International Bottled Water Association (IBWA) has been—and will continue to be--supportive of the USCM initiative by participating in the USCM fact-finding process and sharing detailed information that demonstrates the important role of bottled water as a healthy beverage-of-choice; the industry’s outstanding commitment to recycling, environmental stewardship, and protection and sustainability of natural resources; and the comprehensive US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulations and industry standards that help ensure bottled water safety and quality. IBWA Chairman Chris Saxman (Shenandoah Valley Water Co.) addressed the USCM Mayors Water Council at its May 1st meeting and has committed IBWA expertise to help ensure that bottled water facts are fully available to the mayors.
IBWA supports improvements to our nation's 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. The fact is that bottled water companies that utilize 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.
*FDA mandates stringent standards to help ensure bottled water’s safety, quality, and good taste.
It’s About Choice, Not Bottled Water Versus Tap Water:
*IBWA is concerned as the USCM report frames the issue as a "bottled water versus tap water" debate, possibly causing confusion and discouraging consumer choice of this important bottled beverage.
Bottled Water Part of the Recycling Solution:
*Plastic beverage bottles are among the most recycled packaging in this country and all bottled water containers are recyclable, where facilities exist.
Bottled Water and Emergency Relief:
*In times of water emergencies or disasters, bottled water companies respond with efficiency and speed with regard to provide bottled water in coordination with emergency relief operations.
IBWA stands ready to continue its work with the USCM Conference, mayors, and other civic leaders across the country to address the need for safe drinking water and to help promote comprehensive environmental conservation and stewardship policies.
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