I Dream of Safe Drinking Water for Travel

I Dream of Safe Drinking Water for Travel
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, June 28, 2007

I think a more accurate statement is,

I dream of a day when I can stop listening to the endless drone of travelers explaining how to drink purified water, or this is safe and this is not.

I heard and explanation the other day how to make Fufu here in Togo with purified water. Then the next comment explaining how the small sachets or bags sold are ok to drink, then the next saying how the small Visage (SP) frozen drinks are ok, it went on and on and I was in the middle between two people, I could not walk away.

The truth about drinking water is this, nobody knows, they are just guessing or gossiping as an authority. I drink the water in every country unless is taste bad or smells and know they always wash dishes in the normal tap water, so I cannot avoid drinking the water. I think the problem is food, not the water.

However, my dream is getting closer to reality; I want to know is the water I drink here in Togo safe? I would say the water from the tap here in Lome is some of the best on the planet.

Thanks to my CNIA - Cellular Network Internet Access here in Togo, I was able to search until I found some laboratories that test water in the USA. I will now write or call many to learn.

How do I collect the water samples?
What is the price to test the water?

This page has a list of state laboratories that test drinking water.

After I find a couple of good labs, I will take the samples in every country I visit, then send to the lab and hope others will help.

I am annoyed, I can find endless pages explaining the problems, however difficult to find pages that say,
- This is how you take a water sample. -
- This is where you send. -
- This is the cost to test -

I am hoping there is not a huge time problem, maybe I need to take the sample and they need it within three days, this could be problem with shipping from Africa to the USA.

I am going to take samples of the most popular purified water sold in countries, the tap water from my hotel and document this in the best scientific and statistical methods I can derive.

I want to know the truth, I want to know which water sources are safe and which purified water companies are selling bad water.

If you get all excited, call and find out how to sample and the cost,

I read this page and think this is nuts, the information has correlated and was derived saying more or less, you are poor, therefore you have bad water, sort of junk science with a twist.

I Dream of Safe Drinking Water for Travel


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Do you drink the water straight from the tap in Togo and elsewhere?

There are mainly 3 ways to drink tap water: straight from the tap, boiled, or filtered.

I think i prefer the boiled option, for example with an immersion heater, as such a device can also be used for taking a hot bath.

I have also been thinking about using a ceramic filter (can be taken anywhere and is not dependent on electricity) for my next trip, but they are quite heavy and can not be used for other purposes.

The safest decision is to buy purified water, boil it, then filter it.

I am sitting in Togo, I see no testing of water done by any Governmental or Non-Governmental sources saying the water is safe or not safe. I drink water from a governmental run public water source, I want to know where safe water is for sure, the only way I feel safe is to send to the USA, as I do not trust the government of Togo to say it is good, and I not trust and NGO to say it is bad.

If the locals drink it, then I drink it.

The better decision is to have Andy a.k.a. ME, send two samples and send to two labs in the USA, or Europe and have it tested. The trade-off of risk to amount of work will be reduced and I or you can stop sitting around boiling, buying and filtering water that is safe to drink or not safe.

This is the problem, everyone assumes it is not safe. A total group-think problem here and there and everywhere, nobody knows, then we label water, which I think the water in Lome is about the best in the under-developed world, we stop insulting their water.

I drink water from a enclosed public system that is probably pumped out a deep well to a very large city tower or tank, then come to my room in pipe.

Depending on how the water works there, you could have several variables. It could be that many different places have different wells and every well will be different building to building or area to area. It is not really a matter of where you are in the world though since nastiness is everywhere.
My brother in law has gross water at his house and come to find out, his well is only 60 feet deep and only about 50 feet from the neighbors septic system! That is in the U.S. too...
Stupidity is universal and not solely subject to the poverty of a place.

When I enter a Hotel, I start to figure out the water system. Hot Water, Drinking water, running out of water, there are many reasons to understand how my new home water system works.

I do not feel the majority of people have any awareness of how the water gets to their home, therefore the majority would not know how to survey a hotel.

Here is a list of sources of drinking water I am collecting.

List of Water Sources

My Account