News Feature | August 4, 2014

Why Is The Bottled Water Lobby Supporting Tap Water Legislation?

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome

Why Is The Bottled Water Lobby Supporting Tap Water Legislation?

The bottled water industry has welcomed the approval of new government funding for water infrastructure. 

San Francisco Bay Guardian Online noted that "some might consider this unusual." 

President Obama signed a $12.3 billion water infrastructure bill in June, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act "will put Americans to work modernizing our water infrastructure and restoring some of our most vital ecosystems," Obama said at the bill signing, according to e-News Park & Forest. 

The bottled water lobby said in a press release: "The International Bottled Water Association applauds President Barack Obama for signing into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014. This important law supports a strong American public water infrastructure and creates the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority," 

Why is the bottled water industry supporting a tap water law? 

About "49 percent of bottled water is drawn from public sources. But [tap water] goes through a numerous treatments — reverse osmosis, distillation, micro-filtration, carbon filtration, ozonation, and/or ultraviolet (UV) light — before it’s bottled and sold," the Bay Guardian said, citing IBWA.

“FDA standards for the bottled water are so strict its irrelevant where it’s sourced,” IBWA spokesperson Chris Hogan said in the report. "From an industry standpoint, we, in general, want people to drink water, whether it's bottled or tap." 

The bottled water industry has won a vocal opposition in the environmental community. One environmental activist analyzed why the industry might be supporting the new law. 

“We would imagine that this act will help streamline the bottled water manufacturer’s ‘purifying’ process thereby providing them with more revenue opportunities,” Tomás Bosque, of group Ban the Bottle, said in the report. 

“Overall, we are eager to see how this act will benefit the tap water infrastructure," Bosque wrote. "We hope that providing some level of update to the more than 70,000 water systems will increase public awareness of this awesome, free resource and thereby help change behaviors.”

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Image credit: "Untitled," JessyeAnne © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: