You walk into your new home in Alicante, open the window and let the warm air waft in, the sound of seagulls in the background. Thirsty, you reached into the cabinet for glass, and absent-mindedly fill it up with water from the tap. When you hold the glass up to your mouth, you can already smell something is off and your suspicions are confirmed when you take the first gulp…Not good.
You might be wondering, what is the deal with the tap water in Alicante? Isn’t this supposed to be a civilized country, with good water? Why does it taste so bad? Is it even safe to drink? You air on the side of caution and decide to stop by a local supermarket to get a few bottles of water.
This article is for you if you are new to Alicante, or if you’ve been here a while and are looking for some clarity about the tap water. In this article, I’m going to share with you the 5 things you need to know about the water here so you can make more informed decisions.
1. Don’t worry, it’s safe to drink
The first and most important thing to know is that the tap water in Alicante, even though it doesn’t taste great, is actually safe to drink. It’s classified as treated drinking water and you will not get immediately sick with diarrhoea from drinking it.
2. It’s considered “very hard” water
Even though it’s safe to drink, as most people will tell you, the water in Alicante is very hard. But, what does this mean? Basically it means that it has a high mineral content. Specifically calcium, also known as limescale.
The white residue that you see at the bottom of your kettle? That’s limescale. You’ll also find it stuck to your faucets, on your shower door and leaving white droplets on your glassware.
3. Good news! Limescale won’t hurt you
Yes, I said it! Most people will disagree with this, but I’m here to set the record straight. The good news is, limescale is quite harmless to the human body. Because it’s basically calcium, an essential mineral in your body, high levels of it in water isn’t actually unhealthy, according to the WHO.
In fact, we collectively spend hundreds of dollars tying to increase our daily intake of calcium by buying enriched foods and taking supplements. Calcium is right in our water, in its naturally occurring form.
The problem isn’t what limescale does to our bodies, it’s what it does to our appliances. It’s true that limescale buildup can prematurely deteriorate faucets, pipes and other household appliances. But you, my friend, are not an appliance. And you need water with different characteristics to keep your body running smoothly.
Your body is completely capable of dealing with the amount of calcium that is in the tap water in Alicante. And no, it won’t make you get kidney stones. That is also a complete myth. Kidney stones are not usually made of calcium, but of oxalate, a different element completely.
In fact, did you know that the biggest risk factor to developing kidney stones is not drinking enough water…? Makes you think, right?
4. Chlorine is the culprit
Most people, including Spaniards, will tell you that the reason the water in Alicante tastes so bad is because the water is very hard. That, however, is simply not true. The reason why the water in Alicante tastes so terrible, is because it is highly chlorinated.
Chlorine, a very common disinfectant, is used frequently in water treatment plants in Spain. And it makes water taste terrible. You definitely want to get rid the chlorine and all it’s by-products.
5. What now?
After clarifying the above points, the question is, what now? There are many solutions to this issue. The real questions is, what do you want? Do you want to make just the water you drink taste better? Or, do you want to reduce or eliminate limescale in the entire house? Are you worried about other contaminants in your water?
One option is buying water bottles. A very common solution to this issue. However, it comes with a lot of downsides. It’s expensive in the long run, they are annoying to have to buy and carry around and….lots and lots of plastic waste! Plus, the known health risks of drinking water from plastic is at this point common knowledge. Definitely do not recommend.
A great solution to the water problem is getting a water filter. Here, the most important thing is knowing what each of them does. Let me give you a few key points:
Carbon filters (Brita, Tapp Water, Pretty Water, eSpring) DO NOT get rid of limescale. One of the benefits of using carbon to filter water is just that, that it doesn’t get rid of the beneficial minerals. Carbon filters however, are extremely efficient at reducing or eliminating chlorine.
If you really want to significantly reduce the amount of limescale in your water, the only real way is by installing a water softener. This machine will pump salt through the entire house and basically dissolve the limescale build up.
Another popular option is reverse osmosis, but I highly discourage its usage for a variety of reasons. The two most important being:
- The amount of water that gets wasted to “produce” drinking water (up to 10 liters for every liter of drinking water)
- It produces water with a very few minerals, which can be detrimental to your health in the long run.
If you are interested in learning more about water filters, what they each do, and which one might be the best for you, don’t hesitate to book a call with me to chat about it, completely free of charge.
The conclusion of this article is that the right information is key to making the right decisions for you. Without the right information you will always be at the mercy of whoever is in front of you, and, frankly, there are a lot of people with the wrong information!
Then, you have to think about what you want in your water. If you just want to reduce the chlorine taste and are not worried about other types of contaminants, a simple carbon filter like Brita or Tapp Water will suit you fine.
If, however, you are looking to reduce the chlorine taste and other types of contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides, chemical residues, you might want to look at something more heavy duty like an eSpring.
Or, you could just drink the tap water if you’re not bothered by the taste!