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Desalinated Drinking Water Price
August 18, 2012 6:37 PM   Subscribe

What is the selling price of desalinated drinking water?

Also, if you could give the price differences in various global zones that would be fantastic.
posted by raphael19 to Food & Drink (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
http://bottledseawater.com/
posted by nevercalm at 6:49 PM on August 18, 2012


@nevercalm The link you have provided is about a niche product. 6 USD for a 1,5 liters. What I am asking is for larger quantities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desalination

The above wiki link states that the cost for 1000 L (cubic meter) is around 0.50 USD. And what I have heard from a friend in gulf area that desalinated drinking water that are given to the workers there is around 0.06 USD per liter.

Then, the question that comes to mind is if such competitive prices are available for drinking water, why do not bottling companies get involved?

Or the second possibility is the workers are given some sub-standard type of water, which would not be approved for consumers. Which is of course unethical and horrible.

So before deep googling, having a shoot at the hive mind...
posted by raphael19 at 7:00 PM on August 18, 2012


When you say workers, do you mean workers on oil rigs? It looks like the rigs are built with desalination on-board, and are intended to be self-sufficient. Perhaps they're leveraging something in the oil/gas processing to make the desalination process cheaper?

Wikipedia on Oil Platforms
posted by jpziller at 7:08 PM on August 18, 2012


And what I have heard from a friend in gulf area that desalinated drinking water that are given to the workers there is around 0.06 USD per liter.

I wouldn't put too much credence in that number. The main issue is that the energy is coming from oil, which belongs to the government and which the government is using to make that water. If they are including that oil in the price calculation at all, I'm sure it's at a steep discount.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:11 PM on August 18, 2012


so basically you want to know what the price of desalinated water is that will allow you to reinvest in the plant?

So the issue you'll have is that the main input cost for a desalination plant is the natural gas to run it. In the gulf Nat Gas is pretty close to free, so the cost just needs to cover the capital cost of the plant and the small variable costs associated with the membranes used.

To answer your question of why don't bottled water companies use a desal like process - well actually they do. That's basically what Dasani water from Coca-cola is - reverse osmosis purified water with a cocktail of minerals added back for taste.
posted by JPD at 7:13 PM on August 18, 2012


@JPD

But one liter of Dasani is 1.19 USD, far from 0.06 USD.

http://www.bottledwaterweb.com/pricescan.jsp

Maybe, as you have suggested a state company is selling the water by running the plant through natural gas. Again somethin smells fishy, here..
posted by raphael19 at 7:22 PM on August 18, 2012


Then, the question that comes to mind is if such competitive prices are available for drinking water, why do not bottling companies get involved?

That price isn't competitive. I live in the Tualitan Valley. The residential price for water here is $2.51 per hundred cubic feet. With 28.31 liters per cubic foot, that turns out to be $0.0009 per liter.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:25 PM on August 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Btw, on a second thought, the wikipedia article on desal informs us that cost of having 1 liter of desalinated water is nearly zero: 0.0005 USD

Then the real cost here is adding the minerals which should be less than 6 cents to profitable in the case I discussed. So it looks feasible, does it not?
posted by raphael19 at 7:29 PM on August 18, 2012


@Chocolate Pickle

The price may not be competitive just beside a natural spring source, but it is quite competitive in the middle of a desert.
posted by raphael19 at 7:31 PM on August 18, 2012


raphael19, don't forget that companies aren't selling you the water for just the price of the water. So the breakdown for Dasani could be 0.06 for the water, 0.10 for the bottle, and the remainder could be all marketing costs and profit (I made that up but just as an example). If people are willing to pay that much for a bottle of Dasani, that's how much Coca-Cola will charge - the water itself is essentially tap water and is absolutely not 'worth' that price in a practical sense.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 7:48 PM on August 18, 2012


@treehorn+bunny

yes, i understand. then there is not much competition in desal drinking water market. couple of big players like coca cola, who are price-fixing.
posted by raphael19 at 7:54 PM on August 18, 2012


I don't think there's any question that salt water is more expensive than fresh water to turn into drinking water.
posted by J. Wilson at 9:14 PM on August 18, 2012


raphael19 writes "But one liter of Dasani is 1.19 USD, far from 0.06 USD."

That's an individually packaged retail price for water. Reverse osmosis water can be had here at a retail location for $1 per ~19 litres (water cooler jug).
posted by Mitheral at 10:31 PM on August 18, 2012


@ Mitheral

Which city are you located in?
posted by raphael19 at 7:10 AM on August 19, 2012


As per this article, it all depends on your contracts.

The indicative price, for full production, is AUD109M for 150 gigalitres (or AUD0.00073 per litre), but the contract is not really that simple. Kickbacks don't pay themselves.
posted by pompomtom at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2012


As other people have already mentioned, there are many factors that can affect the difference between 'cost' and 'price', not always in the direction of direct financial gain for the seller - I was just reading the wikipedia article about Western Sahara the other day, and this bit might be relevant to your interest: 'Supporting life in a territory with scarce fresh water resources is extremely costly. For example, the entire drinking water for the city of Laayoune comes from desalinization facilities and costs 3 U.S. dollars per cubic meter but is sold at the national price of 0.0275 U.S. dollars, the difference is paid for by the government of Morocco.[77]'
posted by Lebannen at 4:13 PM on August 19, 2012


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