Don’t drink the water! (Unless you’re thirsty)

Landing back in Spain after a jaunt away, I was surprised to see that Galasa has had its water supply condemned and we’re all drinking contaminated water.

I mean, this is news? Been like this since day dot.

Anyway, best look it up I thought.

The problem stems from the floods last year, which seem to have washed a load of organic crud into the Cuevas dam which is only just starting to work its way through the water supply into our homes. GALASA stated (on the 11th of this month) that the levels of trihalomethanes in the water is slightly higher than is permitted (115ppm versus the legal limit of 100ppm) and that is the only problem with the water. The company reminds us that until 2009 the legal limit was in any case 150ppm. They say that they are installing a new filter plant which will get rid of them, but it will take a couple of months to get going.

A memorable quote from the head of Galasa: “Durante años se ha abastecido al Levante con esos parámetros y no se ha dañado la salud de nadie”.

“For years we’ve been supplying the Levante with water [containing THM at these levels] and it hasn’t hurt the health of anyone”.

From Wikipedia:

Trihalomethanes are formed as a by-product predominantly when chlorine is used to disinfect water for drinking. They represent one group of chemicals generally referred to as disinfection by-products. They result from the reaction of chlorine and/or bromine with organic matter present in the water being treated. The THMs produced have been associated through epidemiological studies with some adverse health effects.

There appears to be a bit of political wrangling going on here. It seems, reading between the lines, that the new chap at the local Inspector of Health saw the readings and hit the panic button without consulting anyone. This caused the Diputacion (County Council) to complain that the whole matter could have been swept under the table without causing any problems and not having to worry the voters.

Tough, replied Health, if it’s outside limits it can’t be drunk, and tough.

Yes, but it’s only just outside the limits, replied the Diputacion, before the press got wind of the whole thing. Not wanting to be seen as trying to cover up a matter which the voters might consider to be of major public health concern, the politicians backed down.

Although Gabriel Amat, leader of the Diputacion, did have some nasty comments about the whole thing being blown out of proportion by the Inspectors.

This is how they treat what you drink - photo courtesy of the corporate site of our water company!
This is how they treat what you drink – photo courtesy of the corporate site of our water company!

Anyhow. What to do now?

Galasa is installing a new filter plant to solve the problem, but everything else is within limits. They are supposed to be upping the amount of water from “other sources” (?) to reduce the amount of THM in the water, but it’s a fairly tiny amount of the stuff, and the famed link to cancer doesn’t seem to be very well proven.

Remember that your usual “under the sink” water filter or osmosis systems won’t get rid of this stuff.

And if you are worried, and are trying to avoid the THM’s at all cost, remember that coffee machines in bars usually aren’t connected to the main water supply, because it tends to jam up their filters. They have their own independent supply, usually from bottled water.

GALASA is also supposed to be supplying free, pure water from the desalination plant in bottles to local residents. The scheme is being run by the townhalls so check with your townhall to see what’s happening in your town.

That said, I’d say carry on as before. Use your water as you always did.

The problem doesn’t affect the water from the fuentes (which is crap anyway) so if you prefer to drink that, do it. If you’re delicate, buy the bottled stuff. And in a couple of months, the problem will be solved. And if you really want clear, pure spring water from your taps – move to Switzerland.

6 Replies to “Don’t drink the water! (Unless you’re thirsty)”

  1. ref your article on the (possibly) un-drinkable water.
    Checked with Mojacar Town Hall, they say that all Mojacar water comes from Carboneras & is perfectly ok & also enquired about the possibility of free pure drinking water, supplied by Galasa, from the desalination plant, being distributed by our Town Hall & was laughed at. There is no free water from anywhere I was told. So nothing happening in Mojacar for the residents then !

  2. Ditto here Stella, in our part of Turre, I have been told our water comes from the desalination plant in Carboneras so we are not affected. The water seems fine, probably better than the water in UK!

  3. Turre water is a mix of Galasa and own source. I wouldn´t drink it on a bet!
    No idea where Mojacar comes from. Galasa says Mojacar is affected, but not Turre.
    Water is not to be drunk in the following towns:
    Cuevas del Almanzora
    Los Gallardos

  4. We have just moved to Huercal Overa and have heard that water is unsafe to drink, has the problem been sorted out yet?

  5. Generally speaking, you can’t drink the water anywhere around here. Mineral content is too high (biologically it’s supposed to be OK, unless they forget to add the chlorine).

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