Oil town finds a new source of wealth on tap
Mesmerised by the red-hot growth of the bottled water market - it has doubled in size in the United States in the last ten years - the city government in Houston is actually considering drawing water from its municipal supply, putting it in plastic bottles and then selling it in supermarkets.
Never mind that consumers will be asked to pay as much as one dollar for a quart of the water if it is packaged in bottles when they could take the same amount from their own taps for something less than one tenth of a cent. Market it right, the city believes, and the bottles will fly from the shelves. Other US cities drawing up similar plans for brands of appellation tap controle are North Miami, Florida and Kansas City.
Gary Hemphell, an analyst for Beverage Marketing in New York, says he is not surprised by what at first seems to be an incredibly cheeky idea. In 1996 alone, he points out, supermarket sales in the US of water in small bottles grew by an incredible 22 per cent. "The segment is on fire," he said yesterday.
But when brands like Evian sell principally on the appeal of the pure and natural origins of the water, drawn from pristine Alpine springs and aquifers, it is hard to imagine how Houston will dress up a product so self-evidently un-natural as water that has been chemically treated. "It may be an uphill battle," says Mr Hemphell.
Enthusiasm in Houston is not likely to be dented, however. "We just note that for whatever reason, people seem to like to get their water out of bottles these days," the deputy director of public works, Dan Jones, told the New York Times. "And we've got especially good water, as municipal water goes". One possible name under consideration: "Houston Superior". How about "Houston Chutzpah?"
Notes from a small island: Is Sealand an independent 'micronation' or an illegal fortress?
World news in pictures
You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
Revealed: Eerie new images show forgotten French apartment that was abandoned at the outbreak of World War II and left untouched for 70 years
- 1 Heading for America? Prepare for the longest US immigration queues ever
- 2 Boxing: Carl Froch slams fellow Brits for sparring with Mikkel Kessler
- 3 You thought Ryanair's attendants had it bad? Wait 'til you hear about their pilots
- 4 David Cameron goes to war with press over 'swivel-eyed loons' slur
- 5 It’s official: thanks to Stephen Hawking's Israel boycott, anti-Semitism is no more
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.
£30000 - £40000 per annum + BENS: Progressive Recruitment: Drupal Developer A ...
£45000 - £50000 per annum + bens: Progressive Recruitment: C# WEB DEVELOPER Le...
£240 - £260 per day: Progressive Recruitment: WPF Developer (C#, VB.Net) North...
£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: KS2 teacher needed to do PPA ...