Bottled-water demand spikes
Tuesday, 16th October, 2018
By Callum Marshall
A local bottled-water distributor says there’s been an upturn in their business thanks to locals moving away from Broken Hill’s tap water.
Streamline Water Distributors say more people are choosing to pick up water bottles from them, and that local businesses had requested more bottles be delivered.
Owner of Streamline Water Distributors Errol Hussein said the horrible smell of the water was the main reason why people were moving away from the tap water.
“I’m getting a lot of complaints from people about how the water smells and that they just want clean, fresh drinking water,” he said.
“I started reading on Facebook all these people complaining about the smell of it, as well as people getting eczema, itchiness and all that sort of stuff.”
With the smell of the water a major issue over the last several weeks, Errol said more locals had been coming to him for bottled water and that recent business had been good.
“Business had been steady for a long time but in the last three to four weeks it’s gone up,” he said.
“So there’s lot of new customers coming into the service station buying water wells or buying a couple of bottles.
“We’ve (also) had lots of inquiries from new customers about getting water delivered to their houses or businesses.
“I’ve noticed that instead of getting three bottles, businesses (now) get five. There’s (also) more empty bottles on the ground which we have to replace.
“I delivered 116 bottles on Thursday just by myself. Damien, who also does deliveries, would’ve done about 60. So near 180 bottles just today which if you times that by 15 litres is a fair bit for us.
“In a normal day we’d probably deliver around 100 bottles. Just today we’ve had a near 80 per cent increase.”
Outside of rare instances when the number of people coming to get bottled water did change significantly, Errol said that overall it had been pretty steady over the years.
“There was, in 2008, a peak in the business when the water was really bad but overall it’s been a regular, consistent business,” he said.
“It doesn’t really drop down except maybe a little bit in winter, but then it’ll pick up (again) during summer.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years now and some customers have been there from the start.
“I’ve always used the bottled water myself. I fill up the dog dish and it just reeks so I think ‘poor buggers’ so I give them the bottled water to drink. At least it tastes and smells nice.”
Errol further highlighted the difference in quality between Broken Hill’s water and his bottles by measuring the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in a cup of tap water.
The meter, which measures the milligrams of dissolved solids per kilogram of water, produced a figure Errol said had been pretty consistent with prior measurements he’d done.
“The Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the Broken Hill tap water is currently 467 parts per million and when we test our water it’s only two parts,” he said.
“Distilled water is zero and rainwater is usually that as well.”
In spite of this difference, a TDS figure with 1000 parts per million or lower is classified as being ‘fresh’ in regards to the water quality.