Today is World Water Day and while we reflect on the issues millions in developing countries face, people in Spain are blessed with a highly contrasting fact: 99.5 percent of the tap water is perfectly good to drink.
Spain’s Health Ministry confirmed the figure and said that the remaining 0.5 percent is not so safe to drink and this is due to “specific issues to do with non-compliance of regulations and norms in smaller towns and communities, which lack the proper infrastructure.”
President of the Water Supply and Sanitation Association Fernando Morcillo explained that it’s not that the water isn’t safe to consume straight out of the faucet but that there are some “parameters that don’t meet the national standards which is why we prefer to recommend to avoid drinking this water.”
Spain’s water supply sector employs close to 25,000 workers dedicated to maintain and repair the 224,000 kilometers (5.5 times around the world) of tubes and pipes across the country and 165,000 kilometers of sewer disposal plumbing.
Mr Morcillo said the country gets their water from 17,389 subterranean, superficial and rainfall-collecting sources.
He also said the water systems are under strict scrutiny and that samples are being analyzed daily in order to have absolute control over the water people in the country drink.
El Pais noted this Wednesday that while in Spain water isn’t an issue of concern, in other countries people have problems with proper supply.
About 842,000 people die a year due to contaminated water and close to 700 million don’t have access to this human right, recognized by the United Nations’ 28 July 2010 Resolution 64/292.
According to international experts, by the year 2080, half of the world’s population will not have access to sanitized water supplies.
Bottled or Tap
According to official statistics, 30 years ago in Spain, the only people consuming bottled water were tourists.
But today, this has changed dramatically as figures show that Spain has become the number fifth consumer of bottled water in the world and the third in Europe after Italy and Germany.
The consumption of bottled water, however, is unnecessary and even ecologically unfriendly.
Scientists and environmental activists agree that in Spain water from the sink is as good and far cheaper than bottled water, which by the way, is a hazard to the environmental due to the plastics used for bottling and labeling.
In 2015, tap water was priced at about 1,60 euros per thousand liters, far lower than any other European country.
Experts say there are currently no discernible differences between bottled and tap water. In fact, they added, water bottlers have to sanitize their water to bring up to standards with the public potable water.