AQUA launches campaign to encourage public vigilance about water drinking quality  

From left: Dr Heru Hendrayana, professor of hydrogeology at Gadjah Mada University; Karyanto Wibowo, sustainability director, Danone Indonesia; Najwa Shihab, journalist; and Dr Diana Sunardi, IHWG chairman and clinical nutrition specialist at the faculty of medicine, University of Indonesia and RSCM, at the AQUA media gathering   

Indonesian bottled drinking water brand AQUA has launched a campaign called ‘Not all water is the same’ to educate the public about discerning the quality of their drinking water. It was unveiled in Jakarta, Indonesia on 26 Sep 2023.

At the media gathering, Dr Diana Sunardi, the chairman of the Indonesian Hydration Working Group (IHWG) and a clinical nutrition specialist at the faculty of medicine, University of Indonesia and Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital (RSCM), said, “Poor quality water sources can lead to health problems, including diarrhoea and stunting. The microbiota composition is influenced by the source of drinking water, and research indicates that harmful bacteria increases when children consume water from unsafe sources. Boiling water may not eliminate E. coli contamination if the storage place and water handling methods are unhygienic.”

AQUA mission was driven by the statistics from the Household Drinking Water Quality Study (SKAMRT) conducted by its Ministry of Health in 2020, revealing that seven out of 10 households in Indonesia are consuming drinking water contaminated with E. coli bacteria. Reportedly, one in 10 households have access to safe drinking water.  

Prof Heru Hendrayana, hydrogeology professor at Gadjah Mada University, also added that drinking water is dependent on its source. “Water taken from shallow ground is more prone to human-induced contamination, while water from aquifers is naturally pure, rendering it safe for consumption,” he said. Further, overly processed water, such as demineralised water, is not recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for long-term consumption, as it can raise heart risks.

In a statement, Sri Widowati, vice-president of marketing for Danone Indonesia, said that AQUA adheres to “assessment involving 9 criteria, five stages, and at least one year of research.” The brand’s commitment implements an approach from upstream to downstream. For upstream, its sustainability efforts include planting up to 2.5 million trees in conversative areas across Indonesia, constructing up to 2,300 infiltration wells and building 12,000 rorak, which are blind ditches to collect and percolate water into the soil while trapping sediments from cultivated land to increase downstream water resources. In the middle aspect, AQUA plans to build 93,000 biopore holes, construct 32 water ponds and set up 74 rainwater containers. Finally for downstream, its approach is to develop 19 biodiversity parks to sustain ecosystems including endemic flora and fauna, and provide clean water access and sanitation to over 500,000 beneficiaries.

Furthermore, AQUA #BijakBerplastik movement, initiated in 2018, promotes a circular packaging economy and manages post-consumer packaging through developing waste collection infrastructure, educating consumers, and innovating product packaging through the use of reusable jugs. The company also established six recycling business units, two integrated waste management sites, 10 collection centres and 20 waste management sites. Through these initiatives, AQUA reportedly collects up to 18,000 tonnes of plastic annually. It is also said to be the first bottled drinking water producer in Indonesia to introduce water packaging made from 100% recyclable and recycled material.