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Australians are thirsty for pricey bottled water: UN


* Australia has the most expensive bottled water in the world

* Aussies pay an average price of $US3.57 per unit, or $A5.40

* That's more than 40 per cent more than what consumers pay in North America and Europe, and roughly four times what they pay in Asia and Africa

* Australia is the world's fifth-largest market for bottled water but Aussies are the second-largest consumers on a per capita basis

* In 2021, each Aussie spent $US$386, or almost $A580 buying 504 litres of bottled water


* In 2021 the global bottled water market was estimated to be almost $US270 billion, or almost $407 billion

* That's expected to almost double by 2030

* Currently the market involves the extraction and packaging of 350 billion litres of water

* The market has increased by 73 per cent during the past decade, making it one of the fastest-growing markets in the world

* The Asia-Pacific region accounts for about half of the global market, followed by North America (29 per cent) and Europe (11 per cent)


* Market drivers differ significantly between the global north and the global south

* In the north, it's often perceived as healthier and tastier than tap water, more of a luxury than a necessity

* In the south, sales are mainly driven by insufficient or a complete lack of public water supplies


* Globally there's a lack of data available on water volumes extracted by the bottled water industry and an absence of a legal mechanism to force disclosures

* It's estimated the industry produced about 600 billion plastic bottles and containers in 2021, most not recycled and destined for landfill

* The report says the expansion of bottled water markets has slowed down progress on the development of public water supply systems

* Estimates suggest that if the world diverted less than half of what it spends a year on bottled water, it would be enough to provide access to clean tap water for hundreds of millions of people who lack, for years

Source: Global Bottled Water Industry: A Review of Impacts and Trends, a report by the United Nations University's Institute for Water, Environment and Health, based on an analysis of literature and data from 109 countries.