Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Packaged drinking water and mineral water

Bottled water (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Bottled water (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The following questions help users understand what goes into setting up a packaged drinking water and mineral water plant. 

What is natural mineral water?

Natural mineral water is water from underground sources that is packaged close to the source and meets the specified quality standards without any processing.

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What is packaged drinking water?

Packaged drinking water uses water from any source which has to be treated and disinfected, a process that could involve filtration, UV or ozone treatment or reverse osmosis (RO) before it is fit for human consumption.

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What are the basic requirements for setting up a packaged drinking water plant?

There are mainly 4 sections in a packaged drinking water plant: water treatment, bottling, quality control (lab) and overall utility.

Generally, a standard 2000 LPH packaged drinking water plant needs:

  • Total space: 5000 Sq. Ft built up area with 3000 Sq. Ft of covered area
  • Power: 65 HP
  • Raw water: Approximately 3000 LPH of raw water of which 70 % will be used and 30 % will be rejected. This is, however, an indicative quantity as it will depend on the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) of the raw water.
  • Project cost : Rs. 75 lakh approximately which includes the cost of machinery, utilities, furniture etc (Note – the cost was approximated in 2013).

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What is the price of mineral water and packaged drinking water?

According to market sources, a litre of packaged drinking water is Rs. 10-12 while natural mineral water starts at about Rs 20 a litre and can go up to Rs 125.

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How much of water is used to produce a litre of bottled drinking water?

According to the International Bottled Water Association, it takes on average an estimated 1.39 litres of water to produce a litre of bottled water.

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What types of licenses/approvals are required?

The following licenses/ approvals are to be obtained for setting up a packaged drinking water plant in India: 

  • Small scale industries registration
  • ISI certification from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)
  • Pollution control certificate
  • Water test report from an authorized laboratory of raw water
  • Pest control certification
  • Certificates from chemist, microbiologist
  • Medical certificates for workers
  • No objection certificate (NOC) from Gram Panchayat, if applicable
  • Registration of trademark
  • Documents related to ownership of land/lease of land for setting up the plant
  • Memorandum of association of companies/partnership deed, if applicable.
  • Electrical load sanction
  • Sanction layout plan

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Is the packaged water market in India regulated?

Yes, it is compulsory for all the manufacturers who intend to set up processing units, to obtain the ISI mark from the Bureau of India Standards. Packaged Natural Mineral Water is governed under IS:13428 and Packaged Drinking Water governed under IS:14543.

For more details please refer http://www.indiawaterportal.org/FAQ-rules-regulations-standards-concerning-water#ISpackagedwater

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Can one apply for the ISI mark and commence production?

No. Unless the official inspection of the plant, tests in an independent lab are carried out and official approval with license number is obtained, the unit cannot commence commercial production.

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Is having an in-house laboratory compulsory?

Yes, such a lab should be equipped to carry out all physical, chemical and micro biological tests prescribed as per IS:3025, and has to be conducted by expert chemists /micro biologists.

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Are there any standards that specify the volume of water that can be packaged?

Yes. As per a notification issued by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs on Feb28, 2001, amending Standards of Weights and Measures [Packaged Commodities] Rules 1977, it is mandatory now for bottled water to be sold only in prescribed standards. These are 100 ml / 150 ml / 200 ml / 250 ml / 300 ml / 330ml [ only in cans ], 500ml / 750 ml / 1 liter / 1.5 liter / 2, 3, 4, 5 liters and thereafter in multiples of 5 liters.

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Is it permissible to run a soft drink unit and bottled water unit from the same premises?

No. Since the ingredients to be utilized in soft drink [sugar and flavor] are likely to contaminate the surroundings and equipment, it is neither advisable nor permissible to operate the same units out of one place.

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Is it safe to consume water packaged in plastic bottles?

The plastic material used to contain naturally sourced bottled waters found on supermarket shelves is made of PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) and is completely safe.

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Can I reuse the plastic bottles for storing water?

Single-use plastic water bottles are not designed for re-use. In the interest of hygiene and consumer safety, it is not advisable to re-use single-use bottles for storing water. However, they can be reused for other purposes like planters, drip irrigation etc.

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Why does bottled water vary in taste?

Naturally sourced bottled waters have different concentrations of minerals in them, depending on the geology of the land that they come from, which gives each bottled water a unique taste.

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For more details on understanding market, investments, profits etc please visit http://mineralwaterprojectinformation.org/.

View an example of a detailed project report for setting up a plant by Small Industries Service. 

References

India Water Portal – Ask a question (Mineral water and Packaged drinking water)

Mineral Water Project Information

Indian Ion Exchange and Chemicals Limited

Natural Hydration Council

Research and Compilation by

Soumitra Gotikar

Prarthana Vishal

 

IWP requests users to view the same as a starting point in collating information on understanding and setting up packaged drinking water and mineral water plant and to add more suggestions, information as responses in this thread.

Access here: FAQ on Packaged drinking water and Mineral Water

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