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Thu 5 Jan 2017 02:02 PM

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Saudi Arabia rejects call to allow water exports despite low sales

Sector investor says majority of 180 water plants export water due to poor domestic sales

Saudi Arabia rejects call to allow water exports despite low sales
(Jean-Christophe Verhaegen/AFP/Getty Images)

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment has rejected a request by bottling plants for permission to export water to a neighbouring Gulf country, stressing that all water companies are banned from selling bottle and non-bottled water and ice outside the Kingdom.

In a letter sent to the Council of Saudi Chambers and circulated to owners of water plants and factories, the ministry also urged more awareness about regulations in the water sector, reported Okaz newspaper.

An investor in the sector who wished to remain anonymous told the newspaper the majority of the 180 water plants in Saudi export water. He said sales are especially low in the winter season with nearly half the daily output of the plants not sold due to the decline in demand for potable water.

He added that the shelf life of bottled drinking water is one year and that the stocks need to be disposed of within that duration.

“The cost of water production includes the cost of bottles, lids and cartons, which means the plants need to export water to make up for loss in local demand, especially when lifting of subsidies on energy takes effect,” he said.

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