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IBWA Members Assist Communities Flooded By Harvey; Bottled Water Industry Plays Key Role In Disaster Relief

Posted On: 9/14/2017

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ALEXANDRIA, VA -- The International Bottled Water Association reports that bottled-water distributors are playing a vital role in recovery efforts along the Gulf Coast. Houston and many other coastal communities are coping with the aftermath of record-breaking floods caused by hurricane Harvey's torrential rains and strong storm surge.

IBWA members are providing millions of bottles of clean, safe drinking water to those in need in Houston and along the Gulf Coast. This is being done through direct donations, giving water to charitable organizations and contracts with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"As with past disasters, the International Bottled Water Association's member bottlers and distributors began responding, some even before the hurricane made landfall, to provide substantial supplies of bottled water to those affected," said Bob Hirst, IBWA's vice-president of education, science and technical relations.

"IBWA member companies are working around the clock to get bottled water to impacted areas as quickly as possible, and our industry will continue to provide bottled water as needed to the ongoing relief efforts," he explained.

In addition, some IBWA members have also responded to meet the need for nursery water and infant formula.

"IBWA staff continues to coordinate with FEMA through daily conference calls with other food manufacturers and distributors," Hirst continued. "We also provide IBWA members with points of contact for delivery of bottled water and other supplies to FEMA and other organizations." These include the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, AmeriCares, and federal and local emergency management agencies.

The association pointed out that the bottled water industry has always been at the forefront of relief efforts during natural disasters and other catastrophic events. Bottled water companies have responded to the need for clean drinking water following a variety of disasters, including the recent lead contamination of the public water supply in Flint, MI; the contamination of the Toledo, OH, public water system by a toxin from an algae bloom in Lake Erie in 2014; and the 2013 chemical spill in Charleston, WV. It also provided essential support across the wide areas flooded during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina, and it continues to respond quickly and effectively to the numerous floods, wildfires, tornadoes and earthquakes that occur every year.

"But it's important for people to understand that bottled water is available in times of emergency because the industry is strong and viable throughout the year," explained Hirst.

IBWA advised Hurricane Harvey survivors in need of bottled water to contact either the American Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, AmeriCares, or their federal and local emergency management agencies.

Information about bottled water's role in emergencies is presented in the video, available at the end of the is article, titled "Bottled Water -- Always There When You Need It."

The International Bottled Water Association's member companies include U.S. and international bottlers, distributors and suppliers. Founded in 1958, it represents companies of all sizes, but the majority of its 640 members are small, locally owned companies.

This year's IBWA conference and trade show will be held from Nov. 6 through 9 at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, TX, again collocated with the National Automatic Merchandising Association's Coffee, Tea & Water conference.