Monday, July 21, 2008


I have always known that I drink a little more water than other people. I generally have at least 2 gallons a day or about 6 of my 1L Nalgenes. Well, this has never been a problem back home, but here in Turkey where the tap water is not safe for foreigners to drink, it becomes a concern. Before I left, I bought a water filtration water bottle from Katadyn with an extra set of filters. I thought that this would easily see me through the summer, but I quickly found out how tiresome it is to drink from it all the time. You have to pull water through 3 separate filters by either squeezing the bottle, suction, or both. Enter, the ever present bottled water. Unlike in the States, bottled water here is very common, very cheap, and very clean. I think by now everyone has heard that bottled water in the US is a joke. Some companies are bottling tap water or worse. Here, the label on the side tell you what has been filtered out and to what concentration. You won't find labels in the US stating that they have filtered out Fekal Streptecoc (which I assume is Fecal Streptococcus) or Koliform Bak (Coliform Bacteria). Now bottled water in .5L or 1.5L bottles is relatively cheap, at maybe 1.5YTL(~$1.25) for 1.5L, but the cheapest and more convenient option is getting 5 gallon jugs of water delivered. There must be at least 10 different companies servicing the campus. All you have to do is catch the delivery man, and give him either 5YTL for a jug or 15YTL for the jug and pump (pompa in Turkish). My water comes from the Saka company but there is also Aqua Turka and many others to choose from.

Now, why do so many people drink bottled water here when it's only really unsafe for foreigners? Well, Ankara's water is heavily chlorinated. In fact, so much so it has caused my hands to peel (Thank god for Nivea hand lotion)! Apparently the taste is awful, but atleast it is safe for them to drink. Now, why is it unsafe for foreigners? Well the reasoning is along the same lines as Traveler's diarrhea, we just aren't accustomed to the strains of bacteria present and developed a resistance to them. If I was going to be here more than 3 months, I might attempt to become accustomed to save some money, but I want to be healthy for when I get home. So, if you're traveling abroad, I would definitely bring a water filtration system but look for a safe alternative source as soon as you arrive, especially if you'll be staying awhile.

1 comment:

carol said...

makes sense to me. Sometimes the local minerals are part of the in southern Israel in Eilat...the level of magnesium gives visitors the trots...really dangerous when it is 122 degrees- as it was the day we arrived.