Water – Lifestyle Product and Source of Conflict
We turn on the water tap. Then, the water flows. We control water like no other beverage or food. People in most industrialized countries take it for granted. We bathe in controlled water, we wash our cars with it and we water the plants in our gardens. We waste huge amounts of water in every single production process of all our luxury goods and refined foods.
Water Prices in Major Metropolises
In most metropolises in Western Europe and North America, the quality of drinking water and tap water is good, of high quality and also controlled. In Asian countries this is not always the case. Seen from a global perspective, only very few and privileged people enjoy drinking water from the tap. Good water quality from the tap can only be guaranteed with a high technological know-how and effort. One would think that the higher the price, the better the quality. But this is definitely not the case! Neither do the prices in the metropolises reflect the availability or scarcity of water, nor do this prices show the technological efforts in the production of water. As a rule, prices are politically set, or, prices are based on their local levels and disposable income.
The most expensive city is the Danish capital Copenhagen with € 6.62 (per cubic meter). In the USA, San Diego is the front-runner with € 3.19. Water prices are often a political instrument, e.g. in Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan: tap water is free. The governments want to show a friendly face. The situation is similar in Cairo (Egypt), Algeria and Uzbekistan, where prices per cubic meter range from € 0.02 to € 0.05.
The prices in India and also those in Pakistan, show a dilemma: the governments want that not only the affluent people enjoy the benefits of clean tap water but also the poorer part of the population. To make this possible, prices are therefore subsidized (New Delhi 0.06, Bangalore 0.12, Karachi 0.02, in Calcutta it is free). However, the profit margins of the Water Companies are so low that the infrastructure for supplying the poorer quarters, the slums, cannot be built. Only those who can afford living in the affluent and more expensive districts indulge in water, because this is where the infrastructure exists.
In the Asian countries, prices have been kept low for a long time to limit inflation. However, in the last ten years, prices have risen significantly due to the increasing effort to waste water filtration and maintenance of the infrastructure, especially in the metropolitan areas. Japan, with Sapporo and Tokyo, is the leader with respect to increasing prices. Nevertheless, compared to Europe, prices in Asia are still very low, but, on the other hand, you should never drink tap water there.
Another interesting point: do you know who actually pays the costs of the supply of drinking water? In Ireland, for example, it is not the consumer who pays, but the owner or landlord of an apartment is charged water tax.
For you, our readers, we have compiled a detailed list of water prices in selected cities. Differences from other evaluations are possible due to different methods of price calculation and frequent price changes:
North, Central and South America (Euro per cubic meter)
- Calgary (Canada) – 2,54
- Vancouver (Canada) – 1,23
- Ottawa (Canada) – 1,68
- Denver (USA) – 1,02
- Detroit (USA) – 2,18
- New York (USA) – 1,54
- Las Vegas (USA) – 1,48
- Acapulco (Mexico) – 0,42
- Mexico City (Mexico) – 0,13
- La Habana (Cuba) – 0,03
- Caracas (Venezuela) – 0,15
- Lima (Peru) – 0,48
- Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) – 0,65
- Sao Paulo (Brazil) – 1,26
- Buenos Aires (Argentina) – 0,11
- Glasgow (Scotland) – 4,82
- Helsinki (Finland) – 2,35
- Amsterdam (Netherlands) – 1,80
- Berlin (Germany) – 4,87
- Nice (France) – 3,20
- Madrid (Spain) – 1,20
- Rome (Italy) – 0,96
- Casablanca (Marocco) – 0,66
- Dakar (Senegal) – 0,54
- Lagos (Nigeria) – 0,24
- Windhoek (Namibia) – 1,36
- Cape Town (South Africa) – 0,82
- Nairobi (Kenya) – 0,36
- Cairo (Egypt) – 0,05
- Dubai (U.E.A.) – 1,58
- Muscat (Oman) – 1,12
- New Delhi (Indien) – 0,06
- Beijing/Peking (China) – 0,39
- Ulan Bator (Mongolei) – 0,16
- Seoul (South Korea) – 0,42
- Shanghai (China) – 0,22
- Hong Kong (China) – 0,40
- Singapore (Singapore) – 1,18
- Brisbane – 2,90
- Sydney – 3,11
- Auckland – 2,82
Water – Lifestyle and Luxury Product
No food and no liquid is as important as water. It is pure nature, the purest elixir of life. No beverage is as profitable as water. The brands of the beverage and bottling companies compete for market shares. The brand activation and sales promotion budgets are enormous. Fortunately, there is no shortage of water in our regions like here in Europe. So a myth of a greater reality has to be made. This would then trigger attraction and justify premium pricing. Branding or Brand Experience is the magic formula.
Brand Experiences and Premium Pricing
Fiji water, for example: The South Seas are a place of dreams, a metaphor for
untouched nature, beauty and purity par excellence. The elegant Raffles Hotel in Singapore employs its own water waiter. In the water bar of the Parisian luxury department store Colette, the pure rainwater from Tasmania is a block buster: Cloud Juice, six deciliters for six Euros. The effort involved in producing such an expensive brand-labelled water is kept within limits. 44 percent of the world’s bottle supply simply is processed tap water.
Mineral water contains minerals which the human body needs to maintain its health condition. This is what the marketing experts of the beverage companies claim. The amount of minerals, however, is strongly dependent on the well. The leader is „Dauner Quelle“ in Germany with 185 milligrams of magnesium per liter. Whereas some premium-prized brands contain very few mineral molecules: sodium and calcium are often contained in negligible quantities of three milligrams only. Drinking water experts laugh about this: „Many tap waters have more of this bone-building material: Stuttgart’s drinking water contains about 51.4 milligrams, Düsseldorf’s even 89“.
For lack of an advertising budget, the cheap tap water from local water suppliers has no chance against the fancy branded waters. Nestlé invested 100 million Euros in the launch of its brand „Aquarel“. At the very top end of the lifestyle scale, things are getting adventurous, or ridiculous, as you like. A very special water originates from Japan. It is clear, tastes clean and fresh, and only leaves a surprising note in the finish: the Japanese water Rokko No from the Rokko Mountains costs € 62.00, for just half a liter. That is the price listed on the water menu of some luxury hotels like the Adlon in Berlin.
Those who want to stay sober for a lot of money, can drink their way through the 42 positions of the menu: Canada Geese, with its slightly metallic taste and a distinguished filigree perlage. The Chateldon, Louis XIV’s favorite water with the golden sun on the label, costs a ridiculous 16 Euros per half a liter.
Water – Source of Conflict
In the arid regions of the world, it is mainly the rivers that provide the water supply for the population and agriculture. But rivers do not respect national borders. Conflicts over the coveted and precious commodity water therefore are inevitable. It is outrageous how we deal with the elementary substance of our existence, with rivers, oceans and wells alike. There is a serious threat: water can trigger political conflict, and, in the worst case, generate military violence.
For many centuries, numerous states have fought for access to raw materials, such as gold, oil and diamonds. As a reason of war, up until now, water hardly ever played a role. Nevertheless, this could possibly change soon. According to a study commissioned by the US State Department, the threat of water wars has increased significantly. The main triggers for this development are population growth and climate change. The United Nations forecast that the world’s population will grow from the current seven billion people to nine billion by 2040. The earth’s fresh water resources will no longer be sufficient to meet the demand.
In other terms: Water is becoming scarcer. It is becoming a valuable resource like gold, oil and diamonds – and wars are being fought over it. (see our article „Water is life“)
Several areas of conflict are already looming: For decades Israel has been fighting with its neighboring states and the Palestinians over the fresh water of the Jordan Basin. Although the distribution of the water is formally regulated in the Oslo Peace Treaty of 1994, both sides accuse each other of using too much water. The Euphrates and Tigris rivers offer even greater potential for conflict. The Turkish government plans to build 22 dams for irrigation and power generation. Downstream Iraq is not very pleased because no more water would arrive. As soon as the conditions in Baghdad stabilize, a conflict with Turkey is likely to come up. It is similar regarding the Nile. When drought-stricken Ethiopia started an irrigation project, Egypt threatened war.
Pakistan’s agriculture also depends on a single river: the Indus. Exactly along this river, India is building dams to generate electricity. Further to the East, China’s thirst for river water is increasingly becoming a problem. To supply the booming industry with electricity, Beijing is planning the most extensive dam construction ever undertaken by a country. The supply situation can become critical for the countries` downstream.
And the Conclusion is…, a Planet without Water?
The world could slowly run out of water. Water scarcity is already one of the biggest global problems threatening mankind. Polluted drinking water aggravates the situation, the situation of the largest rivers of our planet is not encouraging.
Polluted water is already the number one cause of diseases worldwide. We have uncountable reasons to treat our drinking water with utmost care.
With consideration to this development, we, at GoToMarket Solution, have made water with all its complexity to the topic of our mission. Together with our partners, scientists and proven experts of various professions, we hope to pursue a positive influence on current issues concerning the handling of water, life in water, water purity and water purification.
We invite initiative teams and companies alike to contact us and team-up with us in our ambitious endeavor to protect and rescue our water resources. Everyone is asked to contribute hereto in a constructive manner. Write to us:
We are looking forward to learning about your ideas and your projects.