Market thirsty for bottled water
A SHORTAGE in bottled water that started a few days before the advent of Ramadan has now reached its peak.
The shortage is evident everywhere in the country, even in large supermarkets that have never witnessed such a shortage before. Many currently allow customers to only purchase a limited number of bottles, if available.
Famous supermarkets like Carrefour and Hyper One sell only four bottles to each customer, and at limited times of the day. Some small grocery stores remain without bottled water supplies for days, and some raise the prices.
Mahmoud Sherif, who usually buys 30 cartons of bottled water a week every Ramadan since 2007 to distribute to people on the streets at dusk to break their fast, says that he went to the factory of one of the most famous bottled water companies on Sunday and he didn't get a single bottle.
"Officials at the factory told me that there is a severe shortage due to rising demand, but I think there is another reason," Sherif said. "The problem wasn't that serious at the beginning of Ramadan."
Ahmed Rizk, the owner of a grocery store in Giza, says that bottled water companies stopped supplying him with normal quantities at the beginning of Ramadan, and that some days his store is empty of any bottles. "Some say that the reason behind the shortage is due to the recent closure of some bottled water factories because they were found to violate quality standards, but that is not true because their market share was very small."
"I believe the crisis is artificial and the reason is that the companies want to raise the price of bottled water," he said.
"Demand is higher than production and there is no solution to that problem at the moment," said one employee at Nestle who preferred to remain anonymous.
As the Weekly went to print, there was no sign of an end to the shortage.