Kurt C. Peterson, Publisher
The water treatment industry is at the forefront of water quality improvement, through technology, products, education and service. To say that dealers and distributors are on the ground floor of necessity is an understatement. As we tout the ‘water is life’ mantra, access to it may be hindered by a number of issues, such as natural disasters, local emergencies, even water scarcity. When water sources are compromised, it’s the water dealers who come to consumers’ rescue.
At press time, there are a number of situations clamoring for attention: the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s affect on health and societal norms; wildfires racing across parched California; heat waves across the desert Southwest and other weather-related destruction visited upon the Midwest and east coast, all of which are creating much higher demand and expectations for safe drinking water. And of course, bottled water is the mainstay of emergency preparedness and disaster response.
It is ironic to note that California’s exceedingly pro-environmental stance is in direct opposition to its needs: Napa Valley, Los Angeles County, Butte County and many others are suffering from wildfires that will adversely impact their populations and possibly their groundwater. California typically turns away from its anti-bottled water stance to embrace the bottled water industry when it needs it; however, it will again turn it’s back on this segment when the crises have passed. The state is currently contemplating even stiffer regulatory measures that will ultimately drive some of these companies out of business. See Global Spotlight for PWQA’s position on AB 1080 and SB 54, both included under the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.
Water vending is not new but not as widespread as in some countries that lack public water infrastructure. David Abraham of Josab India Pvt Ltd gives an in-depth look at this segment of the water industry and how India has put it into motion. While there are many water-vending companies in the US, it’s more a convenience than a necessity, as in less affluent and developed countries. UVC LED is becoming a viable technology for water coolers, water vending machines, office water dispensers and more. Sébastien Blumenstein, PhD, Crystal IS, presents a comprehensive article on the wide range of UV disinfection, how it works and why it’s a pivotal aspect of treatment for water devices.
For years, bottled water has outpaced soft drinks and other beverages, a trend that will likely continue. The healthy lifestyle movement, young but growing, will push favorites (such as soft drinks and juices) further down the standings over the next few years. To spotlight the bottled water industry, Jill Culora, IBWA VP of Communications, presents an overview of where the industry is headed and outlines its primary focus. Public Health Editor Kelly Reynolds, MSPH, PhD, takes it a bit further with a pro-and-con look at bottled water. With different regulating agencies in play, one might think that makes the bigger difference in quality. But the real difference is water sources and how they influence treatment and bottling processes. Waterborne illness traced to bottled water consumption is rare, but not unheard of so it must be noted as a possible outcome.
With so many conferences and other events being cancelled, postponed or moved to a virtual format, it appears we won’t be seeing you in person for awhile. Zoom just isn’t the same but it is a way to keep abreast of what is happening in the industry. WQA’s Mid-Year Leadership Conference, the Annual WateReuse Symposium and others have opted for a virtual participation that begs your attention. Don’t hesitate to take part in these to gain more industry insight on how to stay successful even when you can’t be there in person. Until we meet again, stay safe and do what is right. You won’t regret it.