Supermarkets in several areas in Lebanon have been recently suffering from a shortage of water bottles.
The fuel crisis has taken its toll on the health sector, telecom, electricity, food industry, transportation, and now, potable water as reports of a lack of water bottles have been emerging over the past few days.
A supermarket owner in Sidon, South Lebanon told us that he has been having difficulties finding small water bottles. He has resorted to only selling big bottles which cost more – making access to safe drinking water increasingly difficult.
Several The961 readers have reported to us their difficulties finding water bottles at supermarkets and stores across Lebanon. People reported seeing cars filling their trunks with water bottles at roadside convenient stores in the Mount Lebanon area late last night.
Since tap water in Lebanon is undrinkable, people rely solely on bottled water to drink. In addition, bottled water is often used for cooking.
The shortage is mainly caused by the lack of fuel. The main factories and facilities in Lebanon that bottle the water have been unable to find enough fuel to power their water pumps, bottling machines, and drive their water trucks to distribute their products. Acquiring fuel, even in the black market at exorbitant costs, has become difficult.
This has prompted water distributing companies to significantly limit their operations and reallocate remaining resources into the product of the larger-sized bottles.
Due to this shortage, people have been stocking up on water bottles by buying them in bulk from supermarkets with the fear that they will completely disappear from the market.
A shortage in bottled water poses the possibility of a black market for potable water to join the fuel and bread black markets that are currently heavily present. Omar Tamo, a journalist at L’orient Today, predicts a tripling of prices for water bottles in the coming week(s).