Safe tap water is a luxury that many people in the world do not enjoy. In many developing countries, it is not safe to drink or use the tap water. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posts health information about every country in the world, and it’s interesting to see how many countries fall under the following advice: “Drink only bottled or boiled water, or carbonated (bubbly) drinks in cans or bottles.”
Bottled water is expensive, of course, and people living at the base of the pyramid (BoP) often cannot afford it. World Resources Institute’s research in The Next 4 Billion: Market Size and Business Strategy at the Base of the Pyramid shows that low-income customers pay anywhere from eight to sixteen times more for bottled or trucked water than they would for a local, public utility (page 58). If this isn’t a BoP penalty, then I don’t know what is.