In Brussels, as most places outside of the Nordic countries, you can’t drink water out of the tap. This is probably one of the most major things I would miss from Sweden. So you buy your water from one of the mind-boggling selection of brands available. However, buying water in bottles has one benefit: you can easily measure how much you drink.
A male between 19-30 years old (that’s me!) needs about 3.7 liters of water per day. Discounting for the amount of water from food, the metabolism and other sources – you’re left with about 2 liters of water per day to drink. This means two bottles per day – easy to measure and track. So, now I’ve got a new goal.
This is a great health advice of course, however 1/6th of the world’s population or 1.1 billion people can’t take this advice – they simply don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.
Over the past few days I’ve been reading “The next 4 billion” a study of the Base of Pyramid market (the 4 billion living on less than $3000 in local purchasing power), where they’ve amongst other studied the water market. This reading gives you a lot of insight into how to understand the developing world from a market based perspective.
Today, still, most people in for example Africa relies on surface water – which might seem free but has a hidden cost in terms of disease and death (3800 kids per day). However even excluding these people, the worldwide water market in the BOP is estimated at $20.1 million (international dollars – not the US ones). This is clearly a space for more entrepreneurs to start creating new business models and technology – the economic returns could be huge.