Saturday, December 02, 2006

Drinking Water for Home Consumption

Most expats are concerned about the drinking water in any new country that they visit. So the first question I asked on arriving Egypt was "Is the tap water drinkable ?" Most people whom I asked this question of said "No"

It seeems the water is ok for cooking but not for drinking. I took this to assume that this meant that water has to be properly boiled before it can be safely drunk. Same safety standards & comon sense as anywhere else in the world.

But if like me, you don't want the hassle of boiling water or don't like the taste of this water since you are used to something else then your other option is bottled water.

Each ones taste is different.

For me, I don't too much fancy the taste of "Baraka"

Aqua Siwa is a brand I do like.

There is also a brand called Siwa with a pink screw cap. This also I like. I also trust Pepsi's brand Aqua Fina Nestle's Pure Life & Coke's Dasani. But the reason behind this could be pure familiarity in an unfamiliar land.

The only one of these brands that I trust, that provides bulk water in Cairo seems to be Nestle's pure water

Unlike India, where Bulk water is cheaper to source than Individual bottles, here its just the opposite.

A quick price break up for those who are considering a bulk water scheme :
Hand Pump - 50LE
Electrical Hot & Cold Water dispenser with mini fridge from Nestle - 1150LE
Electrical Hot & Cold Water dispenser from Carrefour 350-1500LE
Price/5gallon jar of Water (19 litres) - 17LE
Refundable deposit per jar - 50LE

Price of a 1.5ltr bottle of
Aqua Siwa - 1.35LE
Aqua Fina - 1.45LE
Nestle - 1.65LE

Hence 19 litres of this would work out to between 17 to 21LE. But if you buy a crate of 1.5litre bottles at a time, the price decreases substantially. I last paid 16LE for 18 litres of Aqua Fina (Crate of 12 *1.5ltr bottles)

For those who are busy taking out calculators, here is a working out of prices per litre (1 litre)
Individual bottles bought 1 at a time : 0.9 to 1.1LE
5 gallon = 19 litres jar : 0.89LE
Crate of 12 *1.5ltr bottles : 0.89LE

Looks simple ?
ah, but u forgot the but u forgot the dispensing mechanism
Assuming you use 50 jars over the period of your stay here
with the lower priced hand pump : 0.95LE
with company electrical dispenser : 2.10LE
with the lower priced electrical dispenser from the market : 1.21LE

This is without even counting or depreciating the deposit. If you use more number of jars, then this amount will keep decreasing, but this is an indication.

Financially it makes sense to go in for bulk water dispensing only if you have high consumption, as in an office. But for home use with a 2 year horizon buying bottles by the crate makes more sense.

Coming to convenience:
The dispenser gives you hot & cold water on demand.
The hand pump means you will have to fill it in smaller bottles to refrigerate.
A crate of bottles is heavier to bring in from the car.

The jars are delivered home.
You have to go shopping for the crate (or get your neighbourhood grocery to home deliver)

The choice is upto you. Its your call, you decide how much importance & balance to give financial & convenience considerations.

Note : I have used approximations on market rates. They can change from time to time & across locations. Please do nto take the numbers as exact, but as an almost accurate indication.


Anonymous said...

Though some people manage to drink the water and stomach it, I never thought it tasted very good. I used it for boiling pasta or potatoes, but never for making tea. As for the bottled stuff, I prefer Baraka to Shwepps, which, upon freezing and thawing, actually produces little flakes that don't dissolve. uck.

Bob-i-Licious said...

hi there. Thanks for passing by. Your place is a mine of info... So helpful!

SP said...

The water in Cairo (but not in most other parts of Egypt) is perfectly safe to drink! You might not care for the chlorinated taste in tea or coffee, but that's another matter. Safety-wise, no problem.

Michel de Geofroy said...

you might what to know that both ways you are F_ucked

I was informed and warned by a Croat working for the Alex water plant to keep away from drinking the tap water if its source is the Nile full of chems and agricultural pesticides

Bottled water in Egypt usually comes in plastic bottles (Mubarak gets his Evian in glass bottles especially shipped from Europe) the sun will accelerate the leaching of gender bending chemicals in the water.

Hakan said...

May I ask anyone interested in the topic to fill out this questionnaire regarding drinking water consumption in Egypt. Thanks!

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