WATER | Is water safe to drink in Turkey ?
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Water safety

Drinking water in Turkey.
Is water safe to drink in Turkey?


     Drinking water to quench one’s thirst is so popular in Turkey that there is a special word in the Turkish vocabulary expressing the need for water – “susadim”, literally translated meaning “I’m in need of water” and in that case nothing else will do to quench the thirst of the requestor, who won’t accept anything in its place.

Accordingly, water can be obtained from a wide variety of sources and here’s a little guide for visitors, which of these provide safe water and which ones are to be treated with caution.

 
   
      
 


Drinking water to quench one’s thirst is so popular in Turkey that there is a special word in the Turkish vocabulary expressing the need for water – “susadim”, literally translated meaning “I’m in need of water” and in that case nothing else will do to quench the thirst of the requestor, who won’t accept anything in its place. Accordingly, water can be obtained from a wide variety of sources and here’s a little guide for visitors, which of these provide safe water and which ones are to be treated with caution.

The safest way to obtain clean drinking water is of course to buy bottled water from shops. Ask for “Su” and you will probably encounter many well-known brands such as Pinar, Erikli, Kardelen, Damla and Lido, to name but a few. They originate from different regions of Turkey’s mountains and are of good quality. This bottled water is generally “still” – if you are after the sparkling variety, ask for “Maden Suyu” (mineral water).

If you aren’t near a shop, try to find any of the numerous fountains scattered throughout towns and villages. You can’t miss them as they are generally beautifully ornamented – many of them originate from the period of the Ottoman Empire and bear the Sultan’s signature - and there will almost always be others waiting in a queue to get water. Many families cover their entire demand of daily drinking water by filling several large bottles at a fountain. These are then either carried or wheeled home several times a week. This fact alone shows that these sources, which are fed by old wells, are safe to use.

They seem a lot safer than the water provided to households coming from the tap. Depending on the area, this can be safe drinking water and the key here is undoubtedly where the water originates from. Water in a village supplied by local dams in a mountainous area is almost always cleaner than that provided to households in larger, industrialized and more populated cities. While the Turkish water authorities constantly invest in building new treatment plants and updating their existing ones, the standards are not yet quite up to guidelines of other industrialized nations. In fact, household water is being treated, but in some cases to such extent that it emits a smell of chlorine – definitely not for consumption.

Needless to say restaurants therefore only serve bottled water, but one should be careful with drinks containing ice cubes. These are often made from tap water, therefore pose a potential risk and should be avoided.

And should you ever come across “holy water”, have it! It’s water brought back from the pilgrimage to Mecca, the holy centre of Islam. If someone offers it to you, it means you are a special person in their eyes. This water called "Zem zem"

 
     
   
     
 
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