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Rīga council's bottled water company is to be liquidated

On Tuesday, March 16, the Housing and Environment Committee of Rīga City Council decided to allow the municipal water company “Rīgas ūdens” (Rīga's water) to liquidate its subsidiary “Aqua Riga”, which has been engaged in the production of pre-packed drinking water since 2012. 

The final decision will still have to be made at the council meeting, after which Aqua Riga will go down the plughole.

"The Competition Council has already indicated that municipal companies should not do business in areas where the market is developed and there is sufficient competition. Thus, assessing whether the activity of a public company corresponds to the types of main activity of a public person, it is concluded that the activity of “Aqua Riga” does not comply with the functions of the local government and the objectives specified by law," said a council statement.

The chairman of the committee, Edmunds Cepurītis pointed out that municipal companies should serve as an example of the transition to green, sustainable operations, but the sustainable use of water resources and the production of bottled water are contradictory.

"Our vision and strategy is to involve citizens in reducing water pollution. It is necessary to ensure that clean drinking water is more accessible in Riga by improving the infrastructure at home, but water consumption in plastic bottles is decreasing both in municipal institutions and elsewhere in the city. That is why such a decision is needed,” said Cepurītis.

The idea of ​​establishing such a company arose in 2011, and raised eyebrows at the time with many people questioning whether there would be demand for municipal bottled water, and whether it was right that the municipality should compete with privately-owned bottled water companies. Regardless, bottled Rīga water never made much of a commercial impact and interest quickly evaporated.

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