In these countries you better not tap water to drink

In these countries you better not tap water to drink

A well-known vakantieprobleem is traveler’s diarrhea, which is something you during your weeks off, not waiting for. looking from where the drinking water is safe and how is it that in some countries “dirty” water from the tap.

How water is “dirty”?

Water can become contaminated with pathogens from sewage or manure, says Gertjan Medema, part-time professor, Water and Health at the TU Delft and Chief Science Officer at KWR Watercycle Research institute. “A solid rain for these pathogens to the drinking water treatment reels, and if the treatment, there is insufficient to calculated they may be able to drinking water.”

“Also, drinkwaterdistributienetwerken often leak. If there is no pressure on the net, there may be from the environment pollution into the net. In the Netherlands, is the leakage layer, but for example in Rome they lose the half. By the dry spring they have too little water supply to the city to provide water, which is now considered to be the drinking water eight hours per day. That may mean that the pipeline is depressurized and all kinds of contaminants can enter streams.”

Another health risk is the bacteria. “Legionella growing in water systems that are inadequate hot or cold to be held. Hot water systems in hotels and campsites are well-known places for the discovery of legionella bacteria.” Research at the NRC in 2013 found that in Europe there are at least 753 hotels, campsites and apartments were linked to legionellabesmettingen between the years 1990 and 2011.

This type of infections occurs especially in small water systems: “Think of the abstraction of a camping or of a small village. In the EU all member states for at least 99 percent of the drinking water directive, which applies for all larger systems.”

In countries such as France and Italy are about a five to ten small waterwinningen sometimes or regularly with the poepbacterie infected. People that drink water from a small system can therefore also become infected. Not everyone gets this problem: people with a good resistance, a lot less comprehensible.

An infection can cause diarrhea. “Often this is after a few days by itself, but for people with a weak immune system may be more serious side effects occur.” Who is this water, however safe wants to drink, it should be at least a minute to cook. After that all pathogens are killed.

Legionnaires ‘ disease

A variant of the Legionella bacterium, Legionella pneumophila, can have more serious consequences, says Medema. The bacterium of the legionnaires ‘ disease causing, annually 300 Dutch is determined. The infectious disease caused a chronic lung disease with possible fatal outcome. People can be the disease by infected (tap)water, between the temperature 25 and 55 degrees Celsius. 2 to 10 per cent of the sick died in it, according to Medema.

In many countries, there is, therefore, chlorine is added to the water for any bacteria to kill. The water therefore it is drinkable, but less tasty than the water that we are accustomed in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands chlorine since 2005 no longer used as a primary disinfectant. According to Medema, our country is a leader in water quality concerns.

But not only on the holiday destination, one runs the risk, because even at home one can the bacteria go up, ” says Medema. “Because the water a couple of weeks in the pipes in a warm home has stopped, you can also at home the conditions for growth of legionella is prevented. Hence, water companies recommend home the faucets and shower to rinse before use.”

The quality of drinking water in popular holiday destinations


According to the ANWB is the tap water in Spain is generally of good quality and can be easily drunk. However, water has a chloorsmaak, resulting in people drinking bottled water is preferable.


Also in France is the water from the faucet in good quality. If not (for example, at a campsite), then on the faucet a sign with the inscription “eau non potable” are made. The water contains a lot of chlorine, but bottled water is readily available.


The drinking water in Italy is safe, but also contains chlorine and is therefore not as tasty as, for example, in the Netherlands. If the water is not suitable to drink, there is a sign with the inscription ‘acqua non potabile” of the crane to find.


Generally of good quality, reported the ANWB.

United States

There is a chloorsmaak to the tap water, but it is safe to drink. Be careful with water, for example streams and lakes, warns the AA.

Netherlands Antilles

The water on the ABC-islands is safe, according to On Sint Maarten it is drinkable, but bottled water is recommended. On On St. Eustatius and Saba can the water not from the faucet to drink.


Tap water should be boiled, filtered or disinfected before use. Also avoid ice cubes and cook with tap water, but boil the water first. Boiled or bottled water must also be used for other purposes, such as storage of lenses and brushing teeth. Check with bottled water also or the cap has not been opened.

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