Monday, December 4, 2023

Starting a Pure Water Business in Nigeria, Cost and All you need to know


Starting a pure water business in Nigeria is not just about selling water to people, it is a necessity for every household. The demand for clean drinking water is constant, shares Malam Salisu, the founder of Apsa Table Water in Azare Bauchi State.

Beginning with a firsthand account from Malam Salisu, the visionary behind Apsa Table Water, provides a window into the crucial role of clean drinking water in Nigeria. In the heart of Bauchi State, Apsa stands as a testament to the ever-growing demand for pure water in the country.

Starting a Pure Water Business in Nigeria

Nigeria’s quest for clean drinking water has been an ongoing challenge, driving the proliferation of the pure water industry. With an increasing population and limited access to potable water from traditional sources, the reliance on purified water, like that offered by Apsa Table Water, has surged dramatically over the years.

The importance of this industry cannot be overstated. Beyond mere profitability, it fulfills a fundamental need, ensuring households, schools, businesses, and communities have access to safe and affordable drinking water.

Drawing from the insights of Mr. Bala, the manager at Apsa, the intricate operations and meticulous processes behind the scenes underscore the commitment to delivering quality and meeting the high demand.

How Much Does it Cost to Start Pure Water Business in Nigeria

Drawing insights from the exemplary case of Apsa Table Water in Bauchi State, let’s delve into the detailed cost implications involved in setting up and running such a venture. Embarking on the journey of establishing a pure water business in Nigeria involves a meticulous assessment of various cost elements, each pivotal in ensuring operational efficiency, quality standards, and regulatory compliance.

1. Infrastructure and Setup Costs

The foundational pillar of a pure water business lies in its infrastructure. Acquiring or leasing land, constructing the factory building, installing the purification systems (like distillation and reverse osmosis units), and procuring essential machinery like the automatic sealing machine are the primary components. The costs associated with infrastructure establishment and setup range significantly, accounting for approximately N15 million to N20 million, as per Apsa’s experience.

2. Regulatory Compliance and NAFDAC Approval

Navigating the stringent regulatory landscape, especially obtaining approval from NAFDAC, forms a critical aspect. The timeline for approval spans around four to six months, accompanied by costs amounting to approximately N300,000. Apsa Table Water’s adherence to distillation and reverse osmosis methods, aiming for natural water quality, reflects the investment in compliance and validation.

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3. Equipment and Purification Systems

The heart of the operation lies in the machinery and purification systems. Apsa’s choice of distillation and reverse osmosis methods demands investments ranging between N1 million to N10 million, depending on the sophistication and scale of the setup. Acquiring an automatic sealing machine, supply trucks, and other operational equipment adds further to the initial capital outlay.

4. Human Resources and Ongoing Operational Costs

Employing a skilled workforce, including operators, packagers, cleaners, drivers, and managerial personnel, accounts for monthly payroll expenses averaging N100,000. Additionally, recurrent operational costs include raw materials like nylon sachets, packaging bags, treatment materials, fuel, and utility expenses, which accumulate to sustain daily operations.

The holistic cost implications of establishing and running a pure water business in Nigeria necessitate a substantial initial investment. A conservative estimate places the total capital requirement between N20 million to N30 million, encompassing infrastructure, regulatory compliance, machinery, operational costs, and ongoing expenses. However, while this investment may seem daunting, it stands as a testament to the commitment to delivering safe, high-quality drinking water, echoing the ethos exemplified by Apsa Table Water.

Understanding the Business Landscape

1. Market Analysis: Meeting the Thirst for Quality Water

“The market appetite for pure water is insatiable; it’s not just about providing water; it’s about ensuring it’s pure, safe, and accessible,” remarks Mr. Bala, emphasizing the crucial distinction in consumer expectations within the market.

In Nigeria, the demand for pure water isn’t solely about meeting hydration needs; it’s about delivering trust and reliability in each sachet. The market analysis reveals a constant surge in demand, propelling the industry to innovate and maintain stringent quality standards.

2. Notable Players and Their Impact

Apsa Table Water stands among the distinguished names shaping the industry landscape in Bauchi State including Buba pure water, Mai Kifi, Bellmus and others. However, it’s not just about the competition; it’s about fostering an ecosystem where each player’s contribution ensures the availability of clean drinking water for all.

Malam Salisu reflects, “Every player contributes to the collective goal of ensuring water security. It’s about collaboration, even among competitors, to uphold quality and accessibility.” This sentiment echoes the collective effort to address the nation’s water needs.

3. Potential for Profitability and Growth

While profitability is an attractive facet of the pure water business, the growth potential it offers is equally enticing. Mr. Bala highlights, “The industry’s growth is not just about financial gains; it’s about expanding reach and ensuring every corner has access to clean water.” This emphasis on both profit and social impact delineates the unique character of this business landscape.

The potential for scalability and expansion mirrors Nigeria’s evolving landscape, offering ample opportunities for new entrants and existing players alike to grow while catering to the nation’s fundamental need for clean drinking water.

Pure Water Purification Systems

A. Exploring Diverse Purification Methods

At Apsa Table Water, we place paramount importance on ensuring the purity and safety of the water we provide. Our commitment to quality is reflected in our choice of purification methods, primarily centered around distillation and reverse osmosis. Let’s delve into the various purification methods available and their nuanced characteristics:

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1. Distillation:

Distillation, our primary method, is a process that mimics nature’s own purification cycle. By heating water to its boiling point and then condensing the steam back into liquid form, this method effectively eliminates contaminants, producing water of exceptional purity. The meticulous nature of distillation ensures removal of impurities, rendering it almost identical to natural clean water. However, it’s essential to note that while highly effective, distillation can be energy-intensive.

2. Reverse Osmosis (RO):

Another method we employ at Apsa is reverse osmosis, known for its efficiency in removing a wide range of impurities. RO works by using a semi-permeable membrane to separate contaminants from water molecules. It’s a multi-stage process that ensures the production of clean, safe drinking water. While RO systems are highly efficient, they may not remove certain dissolved substances entirely.

B. Costs, Efficiency, and Suitability

Each purification method comes with its own cost implications, efficiency factors, and suitability considerations:

  • Costs: Distillation systems can involve significant initial investment costs, ranging from moderate to high depending on the scale of operation.
  • Efficiency: Distillation, despite its energy-intensive nature, offers exceptional efficiency in removing contaminants, delivering water with unparalleled purity.
  • Suitability: Its efficacy in removing various impurities makes it a suitable choice for ensuring top-quality drinking water, particularly when aiming for natural-like purity.
Reverse Osmosis (RO):
  • Costs: RO systems typically require a moderate initial investment, varying based on system capacity and complexity.
  • Efficiency: RO systems efficiently remove a broad spectrum of impurities, providing high-quality drinking water.
  • Suitability: Suitable for scenarios where comprehensive purification is required, but may not eliminate all dissolved substances.

At Apsa Table Water, we’ve chosen distillation and RO due to their efficacy in producing water that closely mimics natural clean water. Our commitment to delivering the highest quality drinking water guides our choice of purification methods, ensuring that every sachet meets stringent purity standards.

Equipment and Production Line Setup

A. Automatic Sealing Machine: The Heart of Packaging Precision

At Apsa Table Water, our commitment to quality extends to every step of the production line. The automatic sealing machine stands as the cornerstone of our packaging process. Its importance cannot be overstated, it’s the engine that ensures every sachet meets our stringent standards.

We employ the Koyo sachet water sealing machine, chosen for its precision and reliability. This state-of-the-art equipment handles the intricate tasks seamlessly: bag making, filling, sealing, printing, cutting, and even counting. Its efficiency not only streamlines our operations but guarantees each sachet is impeccably sealed and ready for distribution.

B. Supply Truck: Delivering Quality Safely and Swiftly

Our commitment to delivering purified water extends beyond production, it’s about ensuring safe and efficient distribution. The supply truck plays a pivotal role in this journey. We’ve invested in reliable European-used trucks, like the Mitsubishi Canter, meticulously chosen for their reliability and durability on the diverse terrains of Nigeria.

The truck isn’t just a vehicle; it’s our promise to customers that every sachet of Apsa Table Water arrives safely and promptly, no matter the destination. It’s a testament to our dedication to quality, ensuring every household receives the same pristine water we take pride in producing.

C. Staffing Requirements: Nurturing a Dedicated Team

Behind every successful production line stands a committed team. At Apsa, we value our employees’ roles immensely. From machine operators to packagers, cleaners, drivers, and security personnel, each individual plays a pivotal role in ensuring our operations run smoothly.

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Our managerial staff wears multiple hats, overseeing operations and ensuring seamless coordination among the team. It’s a collaborative effort where every role contributes to maintaining the quality and efficiency that defines Apsa Table Water.

Regulatory Compliance and Approval

If you don’t start your business the right way, you will learn, and you might learn the hard way” Malam Salisu quoted. Below are some of the regulatory compliance you need to meet

1. Navigating the NAFDAC Approval Process

Embarking on the journey to obtain NAFDAC approval for Apsa Table Water was a meticulous yet crucial step in ensuring our commitment to providing high-quality, safe drinking water to our consumers.

As Malam Salisu, the visionary behind Apsa, iterated, “We opted for distillation and reverse osmosis methods as they emulate natural water purity, ensuring our commitment to delivering exceptional quality.” These methods not only align with our ethos but also resonate with the stringent standards set by NAFDAC.

The process commences with an earnest commitment to adhere to NAFDAC’s guidelines. It involves meticulous documentation, outlining our purification methods, quality control measures, and infrastructure details. A thorough understanding of the regulatory framework, alongside expert guidance, proved pivotal in navigating the intricacies of compliance.

2. Timeline, Costs, and Procedures for Approval

The journey towards NAFDAC approval demands patience and precision. From the onset of our application, the process entailed a timeline spanning approximately four to six months. This duration, though meticulous, was indispensable in ensuring every aspect of our operations adhered to the stipulated standards.

The costs involved in obtaining NAFDAC approval, including application fees and compliance-related expenses, amounted to an approximate total of N300,000. This investment, while significant, was essential in validating our commitment to meeting the stringent quality benchmarks set by the regulatory body.

The procedures encompassed a multifaceted approach, from submitting comprehensive documentation detailing our purification processes to rigorous inspections ensuring adherence to safety and hygiene protocols. Collaborating closely with NAFDAC officials and industry experts was instrumental in streamlining the approval process.


Reflecting on the profound insights shared by Malam Salisu, the founder, and Mr. Bala, the manager, at Apsa Table Water in Bauchi State, unveils the intricate dynamics of starting a pure water business in Nigeria.

From understanding the insatiable demand for clean drinking water to navigating regulatory compliance with entities like NAFDAC, this journey illuminates the multifaceted nature of the industry. Embracing distillation and reverse osmosis methods, Apsa exemplifies a commitment to delivering pure, natural-quality water to consumers across the region.

The road to establishing a pure water business in Nigeria is rife with challenges, yet it offers boundless opportunities for growth, innovation, and service to the community. As you embark on this entrepreneurial journey, remember, it’s not just about starting a business; it’s about meeting a vital need and contributing to the well-being of society.

Ken Sylvester
Ken Sylvester
Ken Sylvester is a business and financial advisor with over 5 years in the financial market as an analyst and trader. Ken is also a seasoned blogger with over 3 years of experienced.

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