Published: February 8, 2018

    Going on Vacation? Research the Water Supply

    Water is such a basic need that we often take it for granted. If you live in a community with exceptionally high water quality or if you rely on a whole house filtration system to deliver fresher, cleaner water to your tap you may not realize that water quality is far from guaranteed in other parts of the world.

    This doesn’t just apply to international trips – if you live in Flint, Michigan you’re still coping with the fallout of the lead contamination in the city’s water supply. Currently many residents still do not have access to clean drinking water over three years after the crisis began. Even as the EPA awarded the city $100 million for infrastructural upgrades the process has proven remarkably slow.

    No matter where you’re traveling, whether Michigan or Montreal, it’s imperative to research the water supply in the city where you’ll be staying to determine whether the tap water will be safe to drink.

    Water regulatory standards vary widely from country to country. In addition, some microorganisms may exist in water supplies that can cause health problems for visitors who are not accustomed to that water supply.

    Traveler’s diarrhea is a very common ailment that affects travelers who do not take proper precautions when consuming a water supply containing bacteria and other possible contaminants. More than 30 percent of travelers who visit developing countries suffer a bout of traveler’s diarrhea.

    Other cities may be experiencing water shortages – before you pack your bags check the news for water-related information. Let’s say you’ve booked a trip to sunny Cape Town to traverse Table Mountain and go surfing in the crystal blue sea: did you know, depending on when you plan to visit, that the water supply may be completely gone?

    Due to a three-year drought and a booming population the city of Cape Town has been rapidly running out of water. The government has approved multiple desalination plants and groundwater collection projects. To further cut water consumption the city has banned the acts of washing cars or filling up swimming pools.

    According to BBC News the city could run out of water as early as March of this year. When considering where to take your vacation consider how available clean drinking water will be during your visit, and if the risk factors seem too high you may want to reevaluate your plans.

    Water is essential for your survival and for you to simply enjoy your vacation. Consult a travel professional if the water quality seems in doubt where you’ll be traveling. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest sticking to bottled or canned drinks when ordering at restaurants in developing countries. To cut down on waste you can also order steaming hot tea or coffee, as boiling the water has likely neutralized most harmful contaminants.

    You may want to purchase a large recyclable container of water when you arrive and bring a stainless steel bottle that you can refill every day before you leave your hotel.

    Stay safe and make sure your water supply is in order before you travel.