<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Safe Drinking Water in Mexico
NOTE: While this is designated as an ARCHIVE FILE, it is retained despite the date of first publication because it offers information of continuing current interest and/or for its historical perspective. Please be guided accordingly.




By David Eidell

"Don't drink the water" is a universal warning inevitably given to tourists departing on a Mexican vacation. Well, what do experienced travellers do, when they're spending months and months, down Mexico way? RV'ers are faced with the improbable task of always finding sterile water to fill their fresh water tanks with. This isn't practical, nor is it really needed. Purified water is sold in just about every village of more than 10 habitants. Five gallon plastic jugs (the same as used on our water coolers) are refilled at local water plants, usually for about seventy five cents. I use a plastic base for the jugs that has a convenient spigot. It's a snap to set up and dismantle, but while I'm on the road, I frequently fill a few gallon milk jugs with purified water, and it saves me from having to set up the water stand every time that I need some pure water. I'll fill my fresh water tank with "utility" water from a handy spigot in a gasoline station or trailer park, and then proceed to chemically treat the tank to eliminate any chance of virus, bacteria, or amoeba, from living in the tank. In the tropics, an open tank invites mold and mildew, so something needs to be done.

This is what I've done in the past: add a measured quantity of pure liquid chlorine bleach, to your tank as you fill it with city water. Usually, one quarter cup of bleach per thirty gallons of fresh water, will serve to sterilize the water in your tank. The object is to kill everything in the tank without, making your water supply smell like a public swimming pool. After you treat the
water, it'll be perfectly fine for washing dishes, bathing, and even for cooking! Residual chlorine will boil-off during cooking, and you'll never notice the difference. Bathing in sterilized water insures that a virus or bacteria cannot enter the body through contact with eyes or by inadvertenly being ingested. Through trial and error, you'll learn the correct amount of chlorine bleach to add to your water tank. As a plus, treated water can be used to sterilize raw fruits and vegetables. Simply bathe them for ten or fifteen minutes, and air dry. Bacteria-free produce lasts much longer in your refrigerator as well.

Purified bottled water has undergone something of a revolution in Mexico over the last few years. Most water plants now use space-age micro-filters, and ozone generators to polish and sterilize the water. The result is water so pure, it's almost mineral-free, and sterile enough to be used in a medical center! I used to be-moan the fact that I couldn't make a decent cup of coffee because I was forced to usem purified but "hard" water. That's no longer the case. These days, I
actually put more faith in Mexican purified water, than I do with national brands of purified water here in the USA!

Ice cubes in Mexico, sold in plastic bags, are always made from purified water. Solid blocks of ice, however, are considered to be for chilling foodstuffs, and is not potable. Most block ice is made from ordinary city water. Mexicans are very knowledgable and fussy about water purity
(the reason for all of the new space-age water treatment plants).