Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Drinking Water in SA

In South Africa, we're lucky to have good-quality drinking water, we are one of only 12 countries in the World that it is safe to drink tap water.
But that doesn't mean that all our tap water is always 100% safe.
As a general rule, it's best to get your drinking water from the cold water tap. Sometimes nasty things can get into hot water tanks and cisterns if they're poorly maintained, so rather heat drinking water up in the kettle or microwave. It's also a good idea, if you're not sure of the age or state of the plumbing, to let the cold tap run for a minute or two to flush any traces of lead or other undesirables.

From this month, for the first time, South African bottled water will be officially regulated and monitored by the Department of Health. And both here and in the United States important moves are being made to clamp down on bottled-water suppliers that don’t specify the source of the water on their labels, whether it be natural or municipal.

With water being in the news right now, we decided to dispel a few popular water myths:

Myth: Clear water is safe water
“Just because water looks clear, doesn’t mean that there’s nothing dissolved in it,” says Dr Frans Kruger, director of Purificare Water Purifiers.
Clear water may contain inorganic minerals, herbicides, pesticides, bacteria, viruses, hormones, chemicals and toxins – in other words, substances that could harm you. Municipal water quality varies from time to time and one can’t determine what’s been dumped in it just by looking at it.

Myth: Bottled water isn’t tap water
While many bottled-water suppliers get their water from natural sources, some bottlers do indeed use tap/municipal water as a source/raw material for their processed water, according to the South African Natural Bottled Water Association (SANBWA).
One example of such a product is Bonaqua, which is produced by the Coca-Cola Company.

Myth: Flavored water is a whole lot better than soft drinks
Unfortunately, flavored, sweetened water isn’t that much healthier than soft drinks. These drinks still contain a lot of sugar and have a high kilojoule content as a result.
Purely in terms of kilojoules, a 340ml can of Coca-Cola is equivalent to 2½ slices of bread, while 500ml flavored, sweetened water is equivalent to 2 slices of bread. This is bad news for your waistline and for your teeth.

• PurifiCare Newsletters, compiled by Dr Frans Kruger,
• Website of the South African Natural Bottled Water Association,