5 tips to enjoy tap water

The Algarve’s tap water is gross. Although it won’t kill you, it’s full of chlorine and tastes like you’ve opened your mouth underwater in a public swimming pool (minus the urine). Still, buying bottled water adds to the already too large plastic pollution problem. How to enjoy a glass of tap water in the south of Portugal? By following these five tips.

Background picture by Kyle Rodriguez

See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2016


1. Be happy with what you’ve got

In some regions of the world (like Africa and India), people have to walk for hours over landmine-infested territory in temperatures so hot their sandals melt in order to reach some smelly fly-infested hole in the ground that’s half-empty with slimy, green, muddy, lukewarm water. Oh, and then they still have to take it out with a leaky bucket. Here, all you have to do is open the tap.

In some other countries, drinking tap water will cause instant diarrhoea. It might also be polluted with arsenic, give you dysentery or be full of harmful microorganisms or flesh eating parasites. Instant diarrhoea & flesh eating parasites. Think about that for a second. … And you’re moaning about a bit of chlorine?! Man up.


2. Realise it’s safe

Contrary to some other countries (see point 1), in Portugal, drinking tap water is safe. If you don’t trust Enjoy the Algarve, trust Jaime Melo Baptista of the Water Quality and Services Regulating Entity ERSAR. According to this guy, one can confidently drink the water that’s coming out of the taps in this country.

The Portugal News said that Jaime said to LUSA News Agency that ‘In 2011 all water systems and supplies had quality control plans and, of the approximate 700,000 tests carried out, 98 percent fulfilled the defined parameters.’ What are these parameters and what’s up with the other 2% you ask? Don’t have a clue. But that was back in 2011; surely they must have reached 100 percent by now? (If that doesn’t put your mind at ease, read this book.)

3. Use a filter

Like people in most parts of the UK do (the tap water there tastes yucky as well), buy a filter. There are loads of possibilities, ranging from a standard Brita water pitcher to some cool-looking device you can attach to your faucet. Most of them use carbon (charcoal) to filter the water.

Some people claim filtering the water won’t actually improve its taste – if that’s the case for you, just hope for a placebo effect. Real outdoor & adventure pros should buy a high tech purifier which will kill all possible bacteria in the entire world semi-magically by using UV rays (sounds cool hey? If you’ve got one, can we borrow it?). Don’t want to buy a filter? Boil the water and let it cool down.

Picture below of a guy using a Lifestraw-filter by Edyta Materka


4. Add a lime

Preferably washed, cut into four equal parts and squeezed. Also add some mint, washed and crushed. Plus a tablespoon of honey, a large shot of rum and three ice cubes. Shake or stir, insert a straw and a mini umbrella (optional) and serve in a big glass.

Wait! Before doing all of the above, realise mojitos taste way better when made with sparkling water, so just give the tap water to your dog instead. It’ll be happier with the water whereas you’ll be happier with the mojito – trust us, we’ve tried this.

Picture below of a guy being happy with his mojito by Marijke Verschuren


5. Value its scarcity

Water is pretty scarce in Portugal. Hence why you shouldn’t wash your car every week, take hour-long showers or leave the tap running when you put toothpaste on your toothbrush (seriously, that’s just a waste of water. Plus it’s stupid).

Since it doesn’t rain so much in this region, especially not in summer, water is precious. It’s needed for important things like irrigation of plants. Next time you’re thirsty, don’t be selfish, but donate your glass of tap water to a flower in need. Open a bottle of Sagres or sangria instead. Thanks and saude!



See the original article in Enjoy the Algarve – magazine July 2016

Posted in 5 algarvy things.