Is lifting 5-gallon water bottles a weighty issue?

Demand for delivery of lighter water bottles, cheap bottom-loading dispensers from some consumers

Staff Report
20:33 October 15, 2016

Dubai: Is lifting the five-gallon water bottles that are popular in the UAE a weighty issue for you?

Well, a lot of consumers here, especially women, the elderly and those who have health issues, feel so and there is demand for home delivery of lighter water bottles and bottom loading dispensers from their side.

“I have never lifted it,” said Noureen Z.A., a Pakistani mother of four. “I just drag it to the kitchen. But I wait for my husband to lift it and fix it on the dispenser. We cannot put it down and use a pump because my kids would waste the water. So, we have to keep it up.”

She felt it will be good if companies delivered three gallon water bottles at home. “Smaller than that will get over too fast and we will end up stocking many bottles as we are six members at home.”

Indian Sagarika Sharma, a 35-year-old single mum, said she used to seek the help of a watchman to lift the five gallon water bottle when she had a slipped disc. “I think bottom-loading water dispensers will be better. It is easier to push the bottles into them. I know there are some, but they are pricey compared to others.”

Dr Sanjay Kumar Sureen, specialist orthopaedic surgeon with Prime Healthcare Group, said he has seen patients, especially housewives, who complain of not being able to lift the five-gallon bottles.

“In the clinic we do see people with hand, wrist and back pain when they lift heavy objects like these water bottles. I have even seen a patient who suffered a fracture on her toe after dropping the bottle on her foot.”

He said lifting the heavy bottles can be quite debilitating for those who already have health issues. “If you are not used to lifting weights, you will have back sprain and all these pains. Even men can have trouble lifting the heavy bottles.”

When Gulf News ran a poll on the subject, the respondents were equally divided on the need for introducing lighter water bottles, indicating that half of the respondents felt there is a need for home delivery of these bottles.


Market view


Some water bottle companies are doing their bit to address the issue.

Most of the major companies deliver all disposable water bottles ranging from 1.5 litres down to 125ml bottles in cartons to homes and offices.

Masafi delivers water in its four gallon disposable bottles and all other small PET bottles as well as juices and other beverages produced by the company, said Intikhab Alam, marketing head of Masafi.

Apart from a similar service, Mai Dubai provides a built-in handle in five-gallon bottles to make the lifting easier for its customers, said Jay Andres, CEO of the company.

“Secondly, we were the first home and office delivery company to provide our convenient bottom loading “Storm” cooler for purchase. With this system, bottles do not need to be lifted. They can stay on the ground and slide into the ground level compartment [of the cooler].”

According to Andres, the most widely used home delivery container other than five-gallon, in other parts of the world, is the three-gallon bottle.

“To date, we have not received a lot of feedback asking for smaller sizes. However, we are always listening closely to our customers’ needs and if we determine a strong need for this alternative, we will most certainly adjust our current approach.”

Industry sources said most companies are not keen on making two or three gallon bottles as it would be more expensive for them. “The five-gallon bottles are reusable and cheaper for companies to produce,” said one of them who did not wish to be named.