Water is different …
… or rather, you can select several categories of water:
– mineral water
– water suitable for baby food
– drinking water in bottles
– well water
– tap water
The categories differ not only in price, but in quality. As Czech citizens are among those happy people who can drink their tap water, the difference between the above points is of little concern to them. Back in 2008, the iDnes.cz portal happily notified readers that water in the Czech Republic is called the best in the world in terms of quality. Since then, based on the reports from the State Institute of Public Health, the situation remains about the same.
«From the data obtained from the standard operation of national water quality monitoring in the years 2004 to 2015, it has been shown that the quality of the drinking water distributed by the public water pipelines is gradually improving», – stated the report for 2015 (the data were updated by mid-February of 2016).
The Institute also reports that the frequency of non-compliance with the base standards decreases with the increasing size of population supplied – in the case of NMH (upper limit values) from 0.61 % in the smallest areas supplying up to 1 000 inhabitants to 0.1 % in areas supplying more than 100 000 inhabitants, the frequency of MH exceedance (limit values) drops from 2.16 % to 0.28 %.
A total of 8,2 million inhabitants (82.4 %) were supplied with drinking water from distribution networks where no exceedance of the limit of any of the NMH-limited indicators was found in 2015.
However, despite the enviable official quality of Czech tap water, the debate about whether to drink directly from the tap or still buy a bottle of water in the store continues. A number of specialists say that tin, which was used to treat the inner surface of Prague’s water pipelines about 30 years ago, may get into the tap water, despite quality control. There is, however, an alternative opinion which holds that during this time the surface of the pipes has become covered with a thick calcareous coating, which prevents the release of tin. Another danger is the trace presence of medicinal – including hormonal – drugs, which can appear in the natural water cycle as a result of minor leaks from the wastewater purifier.
Although the World Health Organization assures us that traces of tap water do not pose any health risk, it remains a question of whether they can have a negative impact on the environment, organisms and, ultimately, humans in the long-term, given uncontrolled combinations.
Finally, even strict control does not save consumers from the risk of an accident, as a result of which an infection can get into the water pipelines. A case in point occurred, for example, in Prague, in the Dejvice quarter, in 2015. The epidemic that threatened to spread was successfully stopped, however, an unpleasant residue remained.
Water? Only boiled
The universal, simple method to purify tap water is to boil it. Cleaning with a filter does not lead to the desired result, since it successfully «cleanses» water from minerals, but not from microbes. Another option is to buy water in stores and drink only bottled drinking water. Here, too, you need to be careful and check the label: it must specify the manufacturer, source, and composition. The quality of water can also be affected by improper storage: after a long stay in the sun and in the heat, water can take on an unpleasant smell and color. Of course, in this case, it is unsuitable for drinking. An opened bottle of water is best stored in the refrigerator to avoid incubating microbes. For the same reason, do not drink directly from the mouth – it is better to pour water into a glass. Closed bottles should be kept in a dark and cool place.
Watter for children
Drink with the baby, but not from the well
It should, however, be borne in mind that bottled drinking water should be subjected to approximately the same verification as for conventional tap water. If this seems to be inadequate, then you can protect your health by going to water that is allowed for use by children. Its quality is controlled to standards that are ten times stricter, in addition it is not subjected to any chemical treatment, except for ultraviolet cleaning, which is absolutely harmless.
Water from the Well
But the water from the well, despite its seeming «naturalness», is strictly prohibited to drink even after boiling, as no one but the owner of the well is responsible for its quality. The well can be excavated without observing sanitary norms, that is, say, at an insecure distance from a potential source of pollution (an industrial facility, a purification plant, a waste landfill, a disposal site, etc.), which provides a high probability of poisonous substances entering the drinking water.
As for mineral water, its benefits are indisputable, however, taking into account the peculiarities of its chemical composition, it is necessary to consult a doctor before using it.