Drinking Trend You Wouldn’t Have Expected: There’s Fine Wine And Now There’s ‘Fine Water’
This is no ordinary water. A spring in the pristine Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the world’s last Shangri-La, spews water so fresh that people there call it nectar.
The water will travel hundreds of miles to some of India’s luxury hotels, restaurants and richest families, who pay about $6 per bottle, roughly a day’s wage for an Indian labourer.
Even as extreme heat leaves more people thirsty, luxury water has become a fashion trend among the world’s privileged, who taste the fine liquid like fine wine.
“When One Drinks Regular Bottled Water, You Get Absolutely Nothing”
Veen is exporting about 20,000 cases – 240,000 bottles – of the premium water into India each month, minus the occasional few that break on their bumpy ride.
“When one drinks regular bottled water, you get absolutely nothing,” says Ganesh Iyer, the director – operations, India and Indian subcontinent, at the Finnish brand.
Veen, however, is far from the most expensive in the fine water category. The rarest of all sell for hundreds of dollars apiece and are often bottled in collectible glass.
Climate-Driven Water Shortages Sparking Protests
The climate crisis has only exacerbated circumstances and put more pressure on underground aquifers as well as rivers that remain polluted by industry, sewage and farming.
Water shortages have sparked protests. While the Government of India has promised that every household will soon have plumbing and running water, the goal is yet to be reached.
India is among several countries that have built huge desalination plants. Others, such as Singapore, are collecting and cleaning up storm and wastewater.
This Is The Reality Of Life In Water-Stressed Countries
Water has economic benefits for Bhutan, where a small population of about 700,000 and an abundance of rivers mean there is a surplus of hydroelectricity to export.
There, water is both pure and powerful. “We are so proud of our water,” says Tshering Bumpa, the longtime manager of the Veen bottling facility.
Nonetheless, this is the reality of life in water-stressed countries like India, that has 18% of the world’s population but just 4% of its water, according to the World Bank.