The most expensive drinking water in the world, which was even listed in the Guinness Book of Records, is Acqua di Cristallo Tributo a Modigliani. A bottle of such a drink with a volume of 1.25 liters is estimated at 60 thousand dollars. There is an explanation for this fabulous cost. Firstly, the container itself claims to be a real work of art – its design does not even closely resemble standard water bottles. In addition, it is completely covered with pure gold. Secondly, the bottle contains a mixture of the purest spring water from France, from the Fiji Islands and a melted glacier from Iceland.
Of course, drinking, which is consumed daily by residents of different parts of the planet, costs many times cheaper. However, there are countries on the world map where ordinary water, and not even the cleanest, is a real treasure. In some regions, to buy a daily portion of drink, a person has to pay more than he is able to earn in a day. This fact makes it possible to enroll these countries in the top regions with the most expensive drinking water in the world.
When water becomes unavailable
Despite the fact that there are so many fresh water reserves on our planet that there should be enough for each of its inhabitants, nevertheless, according to the UN, more than 40% of the world’s population suffers from its shortage. According to experts, approximately 783 million inhabitants of the planet do not have access to clean water at all, and over 1.7 billion. although people live in the area of river basins, they still need additional sources for drinking.
The World Health Organization has calculated that for drinking, cooking and basic hygiene, one person needs at least 50 liters of clean water per day. In practice, in developed countries, this number is almost 2 times more, while in the regions with the lowest incomes, even the minimum is not available.
In poor regions of the planet where there is no running water, wells, springs and rivers serve as water sources for residents, which are often located quite far from settlements. But sometimes people don’t have this opportunity either. In order not to die, they have only one way out – to buy water from suppliers. In many cases, families are forced to give more than half of their daily income for such a service.
Experts from WaterAid, an international non-governmental organization dealing with water supply and sanitation, have found that several hundred million people on the planet do not use clean drinking water just because they cannot afford to buy it.
But even when residents of poor countries buy drinks, it costs more for them, according to Sarina Prabasi, executive director of WaterAid, than for wealthy Westerners. WHO recommends that 50 liters of water per day cost a family no more than 3% of its income. In addition, the water source should be located no further than 1 km from the person’s house, and it should take no more than 30 minutes to collect it. In reality, everything is not so rosy.
According to WaterAid estimates, residents of poor countries spend much more on drinking water than representatives of economically stable regions. In developed countries, families pay no more than 0.1% of their income for drinking water. At the same time, a resident of, say, Madagascar has to spend about 45% of his daily income every day to get the amount of water recommended by WHO. But even this is not the limit.
Why is water more expensive in poor countries
It would seem a paradox: the poorer the country, the more expensive its residents pay for the right to use clean water. But everything is quite easy to explain from the point of view of economics. In developed countries, the state subsidizes water supply companies. As a result, residents get access to cheap purified water. People living in poverty often do not have access to sources subsidized by the State. They have no other choice but to buy water from illegal sources or from suppliers who deliberately inflate prices for a scarce resource. Consider a list of the top 10 countries with the most expensive drinking water.
For the poorest families of this state in West Africa, water costs are on average 10% of the daily salary. In this country with a population of 15.7 million inhabitants, almost one in five does not have access to clean water. They buy liquid for drinking and household needs at kiosks.
In India, where the population is 1.34 billion. people, almost 76 million of its inhabitants do not have access to drinking water. And although the daily 50-liter norm in the country costs a little more than 70 cents, according to WaterAid, not everyone can afford it. For the poorest, this amount is about 17% of their daily earnings. Meanwhile, the cause of every fifth case of infectious disease in the country is poor-quality water. 140 thousand children die every year in India due to gastrointestinal diseases.
Water supply in Ghana is not everywhere, but even where it is built, tap water does not always flow. So it turns out that the locals have to buy drinks from suppliers. In order for a Ghanaian from poor backgrounds to receive 50 liters of liquid necessary for household needs, he will have to spend about a quarter of his daily salary. By the way, middle-class families whose houses have running water pay 50 times less for water.
Mozambique is a country where almost every second person does not have access to purified water. If there is no water source anywhere nearby, people have to buy it. Usually the sellers are the lucky ones with plumbing. To buy a drink for the needs of the family, poor residents of Mozambique have to give 36% of their income every day. The poorest families in the country live on $2.01 a day. Of these, $0.72 goes to water.
The WaterAid report indicates that poor Zambians can spend about 37% of their average daily income on buying water. As a rule, representatives of rural areas buy drinks from wealthier residents of the suburbs. Business in the country is built on the fact that citizens drill wells on their territory, and then sell water to poorer people. The average Zambian family spends $1.08 a day on water, despite the fact that the breadwinner earns an average of $2.94 a day.
Almost 50% of the population of Madagascar uses water that does not meet sanitary standards for drinking and household purposes. And all because they can’t afford to buy purified water every day, 50 liters of which costs about 45% of the amount earned by a Malagasy in a day.
Papua New Guinea
In this country, people also experience a serious shortage of drinking water. It is bought here from couriers from delivery services. According to researchers, in 2018, 50 liters cost about 2.6 dollars. For Papuans, this is about 54% of the daily income. In our time, the situation has not changed significantly. But not everyone can spend such amounts on water. For 60% of the 7.3 million residents of Papua New Guinea, buying a drink is a luxury they cannot afford.
Nowadays, in the capital of Cambodia, almost all citizens have free access to drinking water. And this is radically different from how people lived in this country 10-15 years ago. But still, researchers draw the attention of the world community to the fact that 8 out of 10 Cambodians live in villages where there are still problems with access to purified water. In order for the poorest Cambodians to be able to get a daily portion of 50 liters of liquid, they have to pay an amount that is equal to 108% of daily income.
Every third inhabitant of Ethiopia is deprived of access to a source of clean water. In such cases, you have to buy it. In this country, where the daily salary of civil servants is a little more than 90 cents, sometimes incomprehensible amounts have to be paid for water. If an Ethiopian is ready to deliver water to his house on his own, then it will cost him about 15% of what he earned for the day. If the drink is delivered by the delivery service, then the cost instantly increases to all 150% of the daily income. The easiest way to live in this country is for people who are lucky enough to be customers of utility companies. Their water-related expenses are reduced by almost 20 times.
Nigeria is currently the most populous country in Africa, and by 2050 it may enter the top three world leaders in this indicator. And this is a huge problem for the country. Already today, more than 60 million Nigerians do not have access to drinking water sources. Not everyone can buy it: a bottle of 0.33 liters in the country costs $ 0.22, while the minimum daily salary in the country is about $ 3.40.
Where else can there be problems with water
There is an opinion that water scarcity is a problem exclusively of third world countries. But after the UN experts analyzed the global trends, it turned out that in the near future problems with the shortage of this resource, and consequently an increase in prices for it, are possible in other, more successful regions. According to the report announced at the 8th World Water Forum in Brazil, humanity consumes about 4.6 thousand cubic kilometers of water per year, which is almost a quarter more than 30 years ago.
If the trend continues, already in 2050, more than 5 billion people will feel the shortage of drinking water. inhabitants of the planet. Scientists assume that due to climate change, rapid population growth and urbanization, water problems in certain regions will only worsen. According to WHO, by 2025, half of the world’s population will live in areas with water supply problems.
China is one of the first to enter the risk zone. Due to the rapid development of industry in China, nature is suffering – forests are being cut down, water bodies are polluted. Environmentalists say that if this continues, a catastrophe cannot be avoided, and with it – an increase in prices for drinking water.
Although Brazil is a world leader in fresh water reserves, but the irrational work of water supply companies has led to the fact that poor residents of the country also experience a serious shortage of this resource. Recent studies show that Sierra Leoneans are also experiencing a shortage of drinking water.
Citizens are provided with quality drinking by 84%, those living in rural areas – only by 32%. According to experts from the UN University, due to climate change, the cost of supplying water to problematic regions by 2030 may reach 1.67 trillion euros, which will undoubtedly affect the cost of this product.
There is also a solution to the problem
Lack of adequate sanitation and access to quality water is the second most common cause of child mortality worldwide. Every year, poor water quality causes the death of about 315 thousand children.
The UN has been dealing with problems related to the supply of drinking water since 1977. As a result of the work done, 1.3 billion people received access to clean drinking water. residents of the poorest countries in the world. But the problem is still not solved. According to the senior director of the World Water Supply Practice of the World Bank, Guangje Chen, more than 75% of the people in the world who are deprived of access to tap water are rural residents. Of these, only 20% can use “improved sanitary conditions”.
As for urban residents, poor families are 3 times less likely to use the benefits of water supply than residents of prosperous areas. At the same time, experts also recognize that in some countries tap water can be even more dangerous than liquid from a pond.
For example, in Bangladesh, almost 80% of water mains are infected with E. coli, which is why people still have to buy drinking water. Another danger was announced in July 2019 by the international organization Global Footprint Network. Its founder Mathis Wackernagel said that modern humanity uses natural resources, including water, 1.75 times faster than they are able to renew. If a person does not change his approach to the use of resources, water prices will only increase. Most of us just turn on the faucet to drink a glass of water or take a shower.
In poor countries, as a rule, people do not have such an opportunity. They either have to buy drinks at inflated prices from suppliers, or use untreated water from rivers, ponds or other sources. But experts admit that if the problem with the water supply of the poorest countries is solved, the prices for the resource in them will be able to approach the parameters characteristic of the developed countries of the world.