Can You Safely Drink the Tap Water on Holiday?
There’s always one member of your family that refuses to drink tap water whenever they go on holiday. They’ll tell you that “the chemicals are different” and “it’ll give you a bad stomach so it’s not worth it” and you probably ignore them nine times out of then. But are they right to be so cautious?
While tap water in the UK is generally safe to consume, this assurance may not hold true everywhere, even in continental Europe. While many countries and cities enjoy exceptional tap water (the tap water in New York is known to be the cleanest in the world, for example) in certain regions, water quality can vary significantly.
Tap Water Safety Around the World
The safety of tap water varies from country to country, and even within regions of the same country. In the UK, our tap water is subject to rigorous testing and regulations, making it generally safe to consume across the country. Water suppliers are legally obligated to meet stringent quality standards set by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). These standards encompass various parameters, including microbial, chemical, and radiological content, ensuring that tap water is safe for consumption.
However, when travelling abroad, it’s essential to research the water quality in your specific destination. Many popular tourist destinations may have issues with water contamination, inadequate infrastructure, or inadequate treatment processes. In such cases, drinking this potentially contaminated tap water could lead to serious illnesses and ruin your holiday.
Water Filters as a Portable Solution
Water filters are an effective tool for ensuring 24/7 access to clean drinking water, even in areas with questionable tap water quality. A water filter works by removing impurities and contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, and chemicals, from the water and adds an extra layer of protection, providing peace of mind and reducing the risk of waterborne diseases.
There are various types of water filters available, including pitcher filters, faucet filters, and portable filters, each with their distinct advantages. While you won’t be able to find a portable water filter that meets the same exacting standards as a water filter professionally installed in your home, you should at least be able to remove most of the damaging impurities.
Some filters use activated carbon or ceramic elements to remove impurities, while others employ reverse osmosis or UV light to eliminate microorganisms. Look for filters that meet the relevant international standards, such as the NSF International certification.
Top Tips for Using Water Filters on Holiday
Research your destination – Understand the water quality in the country or region you are visiting. Check travel advisories, consult reliable sources, and learn about any potential water-related risks.
Choose the right filter – Select a water filter that suits your needs. Consider factors such as filter lifespan, ease of use, and portability. Choose a filter that removes a wide range of contaminants, including bacteria, viruses, and chemicals.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions – Properly install and maintain the water filter according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Regularly replace filter cartridges to maintain optimal filtration efficiency.
Filter all water sources – Use the water filter not only for drinking water but also for brushing your teeth, washing fruits and vegetables, and making ice. Remember that contaminants can be present in various water sources.
So, remember to pack your water filter away in your suitcase this summer before you hit the airport, and rest assured that you’ll be able to enjoy your adventures without worrying about spending half your time glued to the toilet. Bon voyage!