Is our tap water safe to drink?
Motivated by the sight of our recycling bin that is at times full of 5-liter plastic water jugs, because some of our guests don’t think our tap water is safe to drink, I did a little research to find out where our tap water comes from and who controls its quality. What I found is that Yes, our water is as safe as it can be for disinfected water. I wish we have pure mountain water, but we don’t. What we have is from a clean natural source – the Krka River and is monitored regularly.
According to the Croatian Public Health Agency, 91% of the population in Croatia is connected to the public water supply system. Water from these supply systems is controlled regularly, according to the Monitoring Plan that is brought by the Health Minister, as advised by the Croatian Institute of Public Health. Different legal entities around the country manage water sources, and distribute and monitor water quality.
For our Šibenik - Knin municipality, the company Vodovod and Odvodnja is in charge of regularly taking samples and informing the public when the water is not safe to drink, most commonly through their website. In 2020, in Croatia, only 2.9% of the water samples tested came from water that was not safe to drink. This is such a low percentage and there is no doubt in my mind that the monitoring system is working.
Our drinking water comes from the sources located in the Krka river, Jaruga being the largest and the main water supply. Krka is the river that is protected as a national park. Only park tour boats operate on the small sections of the river and these boats run on solar electric power. As of 2 years ago, swimming is no more allowed at the park. Basically, this river is as clean as they come. In its pure form, Krka water is not safe to drink, so it is disinfected for safe public use, mainly with sodium hypochlorite to distroy microbes. Some people are not ok with drinking chlorite in their water and that’s fine. I am more concerned about microplastic, BPA, and phthalates found in bottled water and in our environment. I choose to drink chlorinated water over drinking microplastic. Although there are many other ways in which microplastic enters my body, this one I can control. Reading data that 79% of the plastic we ever produced ended up in landfills or nature is enough to convince me that drinking chlorinated water is safer for me and the environment than using more plastic. Plus, I don’t believe the marketing that is trying to sell me something for their own profit. “Bottled water is marketed as though it’s cleaner than tap, but numerous studies show it’s definitely not cleaner,” Mason says. “Based on all the data we have, you’re going to be drinking significantly less plastic from tap water out of a glass than if you go and buy bottled water.” (Source: https://time.com/5581326/plastic-particles-in-bottled-water/). Other sources I read are HZJZ annual report and Vodovod i Odvodnja site.
We each make the best choice for ourselves. Suggesting to our guests to drink our tap water instead of buying it in plastic bottles is one way in which we take care of our planet and of each other. Pictured below is lake Torak, one of the Krka sources and also an additional drinking water source for our municipality.