Finnish tap water is shipped to Saudi Arabia but why the Middle East is consuming so much bottled water. Would fixing the tap improve the situation or would it go the same way as in other countries?
In his recently released book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, Charles Fishman explains that while the US has among the safest, most monitored water system in the world, consumers are still choosing bottled water over using a faucet. The same paradox applies for most countries in the developed world as they continue to pay for something they can get for close to free. The situation is different for most consumers in the Middle East and North Africa, where clean safe water often only comes in bottles. But does it have to be that way?
The bottled water business is huge, and growing. According to the latest Beverage Marketing Corporation, bottled water accounted for more than 29 percent of total volume of liquid refreshment beverages in 2009 with the global rate of consumption increasing by 2.7 percent in 2009. Although the US is the single-largest national market in terms of volume, just about everywhere else in the world the segment is sizeable and expanding. The same report shows several Middle Eastern markets ranking on top of the list in terms of per capita bottled water consumption.
This may come as no surprise for a “hyper-arid” region where precipitation, primarily rainfall and fresh surface water systems (such as lakes and rivers) are few, populations increasing, and underground reserves shrinking fast. According to UN reports, the Arab countries collectively contains 1.1 percent of global renewable freshwater for a total of 4.6 percent of the world’s population. In addition, although not all countries in MENA are poor, there is a general lack of infrastructure and resources to deliver potable water, so that even rich countries like Saudi Arabia the need to buy bottled water can be a necessity.
– See more at: http://www.greenprophet.com/2011/05/tap-water-bottled-middle-east/#sthash.us26QHhA.dpuf