Even though experts in the region endorse that tap water in the UAE is desalinated and safe to drink, residents are still shelling out for their daily dose of bottled drinking water.
Packaged in 15-litre or 18-litre bottles, the water is delivered to individual residences for a price.
These are sourced either through local supermarkets and community grocery stores, or directly from the company.
Oasis, Nestle, Masafi and Al Bayan are some of the known brands, while there are many more options available in the market that deliver the bottles for free.
Most branded water require a deposit of Dh25 per bottle, which is refundable at the time of closing the account.
While some brands offer delivery all week round, others allot specific days for specific areas, with few exceptions made for emergency situations.
“Depending on which area you stay, a day will be allotted for the delivery. And, you will need to make a minimum booking of two bottles to start the service,” informed an agent at Oasis.
They offer 18.9 litre bottles for Dh9, and offer discounts for smaller bottles if you purchase a 10-coupon booklet for Dh90.
Nestle charges Dh10 for the same quantity, with an initial, refundable deposit of Dh25 per bottle.
According to their call-centre agent, they have a “once a week delivery” except on Fridays.
“We have a 20-coupon booklet for Dh200, and if the customer buys five booklets he gets a Dh200 discount,” she adds.
Masafi offers 15.1 litre bottles for Dh14 and offers a Dh2 discount if the customer avails the 10-coupon booklet for Dh120.
“We deliver all over Dubai during the week, except Fridays,” their agent confirmed.
The same brands are also available at the local supermarkets, who will then deliver it to your doorstep.
“We stock the 15.1 litre bottles for Aqua, Masafi and Oasis,” updated a seller at Madinat supermarket in Al Nahda. “While Aqua is priced at Dh8, with a deposit of Dh25, the other two are priced without any deposit at Dh 15.50 and Dh12 respectively.”
Some building watchmen also stock these water bottles and deliver it to the residents without charging any deposit fee.
“You just exchange the empty bottles for the new ones. There’s no need for any deposit,” added a watchman in the area. The service, however, also wins them a tiny profit as they mark-up the price.
Residents, however, are confused about which brand they should opt for, and if the quality offered in unbranded bottles are good.
“We don’t know what is good or not. It’s like a necessary evil. We need water to drink so we will unquestioningly spend any amount for it. But, we aren’t even sure if what we are sold is of good quality,” said Nitesh Kumar, a resident at Al Qusais.
Emirates247 did contact the Department of Economic Department about what the law states on the pricing and quality of bottled drinking water, but we did not get any response at the time of going to press.