Is tap water safe to drink in Kenya? Read on to find out.
If you have walked into some homes around the country, you’ve probably noticed that people drink water straight out of their taps. The water looks clean, and no one seems to get hurt. But just out of curiosity, you’re wondering whether it is safe to drink tap water in Kenya. And why wouldn’t you? With endless advertisements for bottled water and filtered systems, anyone would be suspicious of the water flowing from the taps.
While it’s true that the water in cities like Nairobi may contain trace amounts of contaminants, most healthy adults can safely drink tap water. In fact, tap water remains the most affordable and convenient way to hydrate in most Kenyan homes. But before you get all excited, read on to find out just how much safe the Kenyan tap water is to drink.
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As we mentioned earlier, most healthy adults can safely drink tap water in Kenya. Water companies like NCWSC, ELDOWAS, and MOWASSCO do a great job at purifying and supplying clean water. The water is mostly safe when it goes from source to tap. An NCWSC documentary, dubbed “Our Water: From Source to Tap,” explains how the company sources water from rivers and dams and processes and supplies it to all city stakeholders.
“The water supply by the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company is safe for drinking. This one I can confirm through the kind of intensive water monitoring program that’s in place,” explains Michael Onyango, Quality Assurance Manager – NCWSC.
According to Michael, the company sends out a team of analysts to collect samples across their distribution networks every day. It also has strict measures that ensure water is monitored every 30 minutes thought the treatment process.
“We have a mechanism which ensures that the water that is supplied to customers meets the required specifications,” he concluded.
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How do contaminants get into tap water?
Contamination can happen at any point. It could be at the source, plant, or on its way to your home. But since most plants have strict monitoring processes, most contamination happens in transit. Like when a pipe bursts open or when people attempt to steal the water and so on. Unfortunately, when this happens, contaminants get into the water, causing it to be harmful.
How do you know if your tap water is safe to drink?
It’s hard to know if your tap water is safe to drink or not. But your senses can help you determine whether the water is safe to drink or not. Signs like sediments, bad taste, weird smell, cloudiness, odd color, and so on indicate contamination.
But you should know that some contaminants – like nitrates and arsenic – are invisible. For this reason, it is essential to know your water source and read water quality reports from your local utility even before you see, taste, or smell something bad.
Can you get sick from drinking tap water?
Yes, you can get sick from drinking tap water. When the water contains unsafe levels of contaminants, it can cause health problems like reproductive or nervous system issues, gastrointestinal illnesses, and chronic diseases like cancer. Factors like the type of pollutants, their concentration, amount of water consumed, duration of exposure, and individual susceptibility determine whether the contaminant will cause these health problems.
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How do you purify tap water?
The easiest way to purify your water is by boiling it. Boiling water kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria. In addition to boiling your tap water, you can add chlorine or use a water filter to remove any impurities.
So, should you drink tap water in Kenya?
Drinking tap water is mostly safe for healthy adults – especially if it’s coming from a reputable source. The government, through a public system, will inform you of any unsafe situations with your water. In which case, you may need to boil the water or switch to bottled water. But if you are unsure about your water source, have babies, or have a compromised immune system, it might be best to switch to bottled or boiled water.