Health advice for the lucky 5 billion

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Two liters of water per day

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.

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