June 18: Nepal is proud of its water resources. The government has been planning to export mineral water to the Gulf countries. Ironically, Nepal has been importing water from lands full of deserts. According to the Department of Customs, Nepal imported bottled water worth Rs 2.8 million in the last four years from the UAE alone.
Besides the UAE, Nepal also imports bottled water from more than a dozen countries including India, China, France, USA, Singapore, the UK, Hungary, Bangladesh, the Philippines among others.
During the review period, the country imported 2.1 million litres of water worth Rs 73.9 million from those countries. Nepal imports maximum amount of bottled water from India. Records at the customs department shows that water-rich Nepal paid Rs 39.6 million to India for water during the review period.
In the first eight months of the current fiscal year, Nepal imported 3.3 million litres of water worth Rs 17.5 million from abroad.
President of Nepal Bottled Water Industry Association, Subash Bhandari, told New Business Age that the bottled water imported to Nepal is chiefly consumed by five-star hotels, embassies, foreign missions in Nepal and foreigners living in Nepal.
Majority of the embassies use water from their own countries.