Overall consumption of bottled water increased by 3.5 percent in the United States in 2010, according to the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), Alexandria, Va. The association released its 2010 bottled water statistics, which were compiled by Beverage Marketing Corp. (BMC).

The data shows that the bottled water category’s overall share of the liquid refreshment beverages marketplace grew slightly to 30 percent, which is an increase from 29.2 percent reported in 2009.

In 2010, total bottled water consumption increased to 8.75 billion gallons, which is an increase from 8.45 billion gallons in 2009, the association reported. In addition, per capita consumption also increased 2.6 percent in 2010. The data shows that every person in America drank an average of 28.3 gallons of bottled water last year.

“While economic times are still tough for many, the consumption of healthy bottled water continues to be a part of their lifestyle,” said Joe Doss, president and chief executive officer of the IBWA, in a statement. “Even during the past two slow economic years, bottled water consumption decreased less than most other major beverage categories. The steady market share increase we now are experiencing is because consumers are choosing safe, high-quality bottled water over other packaged beverages.”

BMC’s data reported that the entire U.S. refreshment beverage category increased by 1.2 percent after two years of recession-based downturn. Carbonated soft drinks occupy 23 percent of the market, which is a decrease from 2009, BMC reported. Bottled water’s market share grew to 15 percent, which BMC attributes to consumer interest in healthy, calorie-free beverages and the slight economic upturn.