Drinking water - where does yours come from?

View Poll Results: Where do you get your drinking water from?
bottled water 29 60.42%
treat it with tablets/ iodine 0 0%
boiling and cooling 2 4.17%
a combination of the above 9 18.75%
drink any water 3 6.25%
don't drink water-just soft drinks / tea / beer 1 2.08%
filter it 4 8.33%
Voters: 48. You may not vote on this poll

#1 Mar 13th, 2003, 18:34
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  • Midnite Toker is offline
#1
When in India, where do you get your drinking water?
#2 Mar 15th, 2003, 18:58
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  • Tomi is offline
#2
Hi everybody. Back from South India after a great 9-week stay.
About water, my answer is "none of the above". I drink bottled water when there is no "safe" drinking water available. I call "safe" most of the drinking water that is provided by reputable (my call) hotels and restaurants. I started drinking it the second week of my stay, after being grossed out by the bad taste of bottled water. There is no real mineral water in South India, only stuff bottled by Bisleri, Coke, Pepsi, etc., now found to contain unacceptable levels of pesticide, and almost always bitter and chemical tasting.
I played it by ear. Always asked for "normal water" in restaurants and "a pitcher of water" in hotels (mostly the 400-500 Rs mid-priced variety hotels, not in the 100 Rs variety). I did not drink the "drinking water" offered on temple grounds, train stations, etc. And of course I never drank the tap water, but nobody does as far as I could tell. I did ask for ice in restaurants and fruit juice shops and wasn't overly concerned.
Result: I never got sick from the water. I only had diarrhea 3 out of my 65 days there, and it was during my first week, while I was on bottled water. I think people are overly scared of "the" water (with that meaningless definite article).
I didn't take any water purifying chemicals or filters on the trip. Bottled water is always available, even in the smallest towns, on beverage stalls, when normal drinking water is not available or the joint looks too dirty for me to trust it.
#3 Mar 15th, 2003, 20:05
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  • vasuki is offline
#3
Totally off the topic... midnite toker..

Just went through your website and its a lot helpful...

A great effort!
#4 Mar 16th, 2003, 14:43
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#4
First of all, thanks, Vasuki, for your comments. Any off-topic comment is welcome here as long as it tells me how wonderful I am!

Tomi, I know what you mean about the bad taste of much bottled water. I'm one of the "boilers and coolers" on the survey, and I'm always struck by the difference in taste between natural well water that's been boiled and the stuff in bottles. In Goa this time, the water I was drinking had a particularly "sweet" flavour to it - possibly due to the odd coconut that fell into the well. It was really nice water.

I faced another slight health hazard here, however - radioactivity. One day I saw this chap walking along the beach with a Geiger counter, pressing the probe in the sand and noting the results. I asked him why he was doing this, and it turns out that Canacona taluka has relatively high levels of radioactive ferrous salts in the water. (He was an official from the Geological Survey of India.) This is thought to be behind the coastal region's high rates of kidney disease.

As tourists, we're usually in places such a short time that exposure to pesticide residues or radioactivity won't be a significant risk, but it's obviously a problem for those who are born and live their whole lives there.
#5 Mar 16th, 2003, 15:29
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  • maree is offline
#5
In Mcleod Ganj there were a couple of places where you could take your bottle along and get it filled with boiled/filtered water for a few rupees. And I think in Rishikesh too. Would be great if the practice was more widespread.
#6 Mar 16th, 2003, 15:48
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  • vistet is offline
#6
The Women`s Coop in Leh also sell boiled & filtered with lime.
Mmm... lime

They make a big point of having pressure boiled the water (i.e. 120 degrees instead of c:a 85) but this is probably overkill , seem to remember Peter Hackett saying that water is safe to boil up to arund 3000 meters altitude.

Water quality in the Leh area has taken a dive after many guesthouses have introduced (wacky) water closets. In some places you can find three loos : indian , angrezi style and the traditional ladakhi dry toilet.
#7 Mar 16th, 2003, 16:23
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  • steven_ber is offline
#7

Question how safe is tap water?

sorry to say, i am a bottled water voter, and i don't even like the taste of it, but for me it's either bottled water or tap water.

in 9 months in thailand i only ever drunk tap water and never had a reaction to it.

my friends say i have a stomach of iron, so could i drink tap water in india?

i did once in a house in jodhpur and was fine.
#8 Mar 16th, 2003, 18:07
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#8
So far I am the only one who voted "drink any water".
I have never had any problems with it, though I use the taste test first. If the first sip is bad...I don't drink it.

I am also partial to village water pumped straight from a well and stored in a clay pot. Something about being stored in a clay pot gives it a sweet taste.
#9 Mar 16th, 2003, 20:23
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#9
Steven, why do you say that the only alternative to bottled water is tap water? If you got served water in someone's house it was filtered first, perhaps boiled as well, like in most restaurants and hotels. Tap water is not acceptable and is never served to you.
I didn't vote on the survey because there was no option that fit what I do: drink water that somebody else has treated.
Maree, are you sure that the water sold in places that advertise the sale of boiled-and-filtered water (add Kashi Art Cafe, Fort Cochin, to those mentioned) is necessarily safer than places that don't advertise and just serve it?
I also found some guest houses make the point of advertising that the water they serve you in pitchers is safe (e.g. Aramika, Varkala: well water boiled and filtered) and they give it to you for free. In a place like Cochin or Varkala, where the heat makes you lose pounds and pounds of water due to perspiration, it represents a considerable saving if you are wedded to bottled water.
#10 Mar 17th, 2003, 12:02
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#10
Tomi.... no not sure at all, but the people seemed nice and trustworthy and that was enough for me. I remember that Art Cafe too.... there was some great stuff hanging on the walls to buy and I had a 'proper' coffee which was pretty exciting at the time.
#11 Mar 17th, 2003, 12:19
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#11
to Tomi

what i meant by 'bottled water or tap water' was that i will not boil and cool my water and i will not carry a filtering system, and i would rather take my chances than treat water with tablets/ iodine.

so for my drinking water it's either bottled or tap.
#12 Mar 17th, 2003, 13:03
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  • vistet is offline
#12
Quote:
Originally posted by steven_ber
to Tomi

i would rather take my chances than treat water with tablets/ iodine.

why ?
#13 Mar 17th, 2003, 14:12
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#13
i think the water is either good enough to drink or it isn't, i feel bad enough in restaurants using my own bottled water, i would feel like i am insulting them to use their water and then treat it.

i know lots of restaurants treat their water, but not the kind of places i go to.

i think i will do what indiamike does and just drink the local tap water next time i go (i drink the local whisky and survive, just)
#14 Mar 17th, 2003, 15:11
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#14
Next trip I will bring a pump filter, now that they are down to 8 oz. Last time around I used boiled water , drank a lot of tea, used well water (chumig chu in ladakhi/tibetan) and ended up buying bottled water as a last resort.
In McLeod these bottles were picked up in the morning by the cleaning pickup truck, in Leh and Gangtok they were all too often dumped down the hillside/into the water.

All tablets I have seen so far are chlorine(halazone) based and should be avoided since they are NOT effective against amoebas.
#15 Mar 17th, 2003, 17:40
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  • Alan D is offline
#15
I haven't voted in the poll as I seem to fall into most of the categories at one time or the other. Over the years I have used a water filter, iodine solution and tablets. I tend to drink very little water but lots of tea, lassi, hot milk and the occasional beer and soft drink.

I'm wary of drinking tap water but I will drink water in the better restaurants and hotels when people reassure me it has been treated.

I don't worry about buying bottled water in the larger cities and towns (perhaps I should be after the recent CSE report) but try to keep it to a minimum where there doesn't seem to be anyone picking up the empties.

So far, I've got away with a high fever in Tamil Nadu some years ago and a few mild doses of the runs but it's almost impossible to work out how you pick up these things. It could have been the tandoori chicken!
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