Despite the drought in different parts of the country, Australia still managed to export in the last five years $216 million worth of water. Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) said the water exports were made up of natural, mineral, aerated, flavoured and sugared water, snow and ice.
File image of bottled water
The export data, which covers the years between 2007 and 2011, said for natural or artificial mineral water, 28 million litres were shipped outside Australia. For commercial reasons, the DFAT did not disclose the volume of underground tapped mineral water or flavoured water export which is a market estimated at least $200 million.
However, the bottled water industry insisted that its exports did not affect local supply despite the droughts that hit Australia such as the 14-year rainless period from 1995 to 2010 that dried up Victoria.
The Australasian Bottled Water Institute said that the bottled water industry in the country uses less than 0.01 per cent of total groundwater drawn from Australia and New Zealand or half a day's supply for Melbourne or even less than half a day in Sydney.
Due to the last drought, the Australian government built the Wonthaggi desalination plant which cost Canberra $3.5 million.
In the U.S., due to a campaign for residents to shift to tap water to prevent the generation of excessive used water bottles that end up in landfills, data from the Euromonitor International said that functional bottled water sales went down 4 per cent in 2011.
Prior to the recession which caused consumers also to tighten belts and opt for less expensive sources of hydrating themselves, the bottled water industry in the U.S. registered a compounded annual growth rate of 13 per cent.
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