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Drinking Water in Glass

Bottled Drinking Water – Prices

The scary fact is that bottled drinking water is hugely expensive and we need it so we pay through the nose! A realistic perspective is needed now.

Updated 12-June-2017  

We all (including tourists) believe that bottled drinking water is the only way to go.

The best water is tap water, or is it? In Dubai, the water is as near perfect as it can possibly be when it leaves the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) main production pipelines. Unfortunately, the infrastructure in certain areas may be damaged and the water storage tanks are not always kept clean – ask your security guy or landlord when this was last done – you may well be surprised/shocked!

This and more means there is a huge demand for bottled drinking water. Dubai has rules and regulations in place and prices are fairly consistent, however, should you choose to drink bottled water in a hotel establishment you can end up paying over 10 times more for the same water in a grocery store.

For example, a well-known brand of bottled drinking water is being sold at € 14.72/AED 60 per litre in some hotels. The price of petrol in the UK is on average € 1.354/AED 5.58.

Does this make sense to anyone?

In Dubai, we already pay DEWA for the pleasure of running tap water and still buy bottled water – DEWA’s bottled water! DEWA came up with the brilliant idea of bottling its water at its production plant and Mai Dubai was born in 2012. Its popularity has grown incredibly quickly due to its competitive pricing and its aggressive marketing. They’re already expanding their production plant and considering the export market.

Water choices are huge and it all comes down to our personal preferences. For me, I nearly had a heart attack when I got the bill for a 50cl bottle of a popular sparkling European water – € 6.31/AED 26 so € 12.62/AED 52 per litre. Of course, I could have chosen to sit in a quick service restaurant or café instead of a 5-star hotel – pleasure at a price!

The most expensive water being sold online via the grocery stores is a Canadian water at € 10.442/AED 43.00 per litre, however, the cheapest is a grocery store private label being sold at € 0.162/AED 0.667 per litre.

It is prudent to be aware of the idiosyncrasies and costs involved in online shopping.  We have carried out further research regarding the water companies and if you are interested in knowing more and having further details regarding the following please contact us at any time.

  • any increase/decrease in bottled drinking water pricing online over the 6-month period;
  • most expensive/least expensive bottled drinking waters in hotels/QSR/online groceries/supermarkets
  • the ownership of the water companies;
  • the country of source for the water;
  • water/distributor/company websites

Online groceries checked – Choithrams, Geant, Aswaaq, FulfilME, Trolley, Earlybird and Supermart. We didn’t cover Lulu’s, European Star or EuroBalkan.

The research was carried out in December 2016 and May 2017.

(Previously published on Linkedin by Fiona Thomas on 12th June 2017)


The advice provided in our columns does not constitute legal advice and is provided for information only. Readers are encouraged to seek appropriate independent legal advice.

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