The water price index

The water price index study reveals the differences in price for both tap and bottled water in over 100 cities around the world, including local indicators of tap water quality and water stress.

  • A typical affordable bottle of 500ml water costs the most in Oslo, Norway, at €1.52, and costs the least in Beirut, Lebanon at €0.03.
  • Comparing prices across several brand-name waters, Oslo still has the most expensive bottled water in the index, costing 194.90% more than the global median, followed by Tel Aviv, Israel (+123.90%) and New York, USA (+76.42%). Istanbul, Turkey instead has the cheapest across brands, costing 69.43% less than the median price, followed by Naples (-67.45%) and Milan, Italy (-51.25%).
  • Osloites also pay the most for tap water, at 212.24% more than the global median, followed by people in San Francisco, USA (+183.60%) and Stuttgart, Germany (+164.78%). Citizens in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia pay the least, at 98.17% less than the median price, followed by Cairo, Egypt (-96.30%) and Karachi, Pakistan (-95.71%).
  • Innsbruck, Austria has the highest tap water quality score, followed by Helsinki, Finland and Vienna, Austria. Lagos, Nigeria has the lowest, followed by Karachi, Pakistan and Dakar, Senegal.

Holidu, the search engine for holiday rentals, has released a study that looks at the difference in the price of both tap and bottled water in over 100 cities around the world. The company decided to examine this topic as part of its mission to help travellers make smart and affordable decisions about where they decide to stay, which led them to investigate the most basic of everyday vacation expenses: water. Keeping in mind daily water usage in holiday rentals, they began by finding the average costs for tap water in each destination, before turning their attention to the often unavoidable cost of bottled water. After collecting the average costs for both in each location, Holidu was able to calculate in percentages how far the prices varied in each city, as well as between brands. Special attention was also paid to tap water quality and scarcity in every region, to help inform travellers of any restrictions they may face. The result is a comprehensive price index that reveals how much variation there is in the cost, quality and availability of water in cities around the world.

How the study was conducted

To begin the study, Holidu selected 120 cities that are popular tourist destinations, as well as places where there is a heightened risk of water shortage. For this purpose, they included a category showing the level of water stress for each city. Holidu also looked into the quality of tap water in each location, as it was important above all to see if and where the water was safe to drink.

Next, the monthly consumption cost** of tap water in each city was found, from which it was possible to calculate the percentage deviation from the median price for all the cities in the list. The results show, more or less, just how much citizens in each metropolis pay for their tap water compared to the rest of the world.

The second part of the study focused on bottled water as a common cost for many travellers, despite the negative effects on the environment. To start, the price of a typical affordable bottle of water that a person may buy at a supermarket in each city was found. This was broken down further into the average price per bottle of three of the most common water brands – Evian, Perrier/Nestlé and the local water brand from the Coca-Cola company. Finally, the cost of all these different brands was averaged to see which cities have the most expensive and cheapest bottled water, calculating the percentage deviation from the median price in the index.

The final index paints a picture of how the price of water varies worldwide, as well as giving an overview of the differences in local tap water costs and water stress levels found across the globe.

Article by Holidu