Filtered tap water may be the ideal solution to drinking water in Dahab, but as we continue to research those options, what are our other choices?
One option – my personal preference and one used by many local residents – is the water that is collected from various wells or springs in south Sinai. There are many Bedouin and Egyptian men who drive trucks to these nearby locations, fill large jerry cans or tanks with the water, and then deliver the water to customers in Dahab. Typically, if you are buying from a truck with the big blue jerry cans, you purchase the water by volume, in 60-liter amounts. Because the storage and transport of the water is unregulated and potentially unhygienic, many people do not want to use this water.
Here’s how we deal with well water at our house:
We call a Bedouin man who sells water, inquire whether he is in town and has water in stock, and arrange a time for delivery. He brings the water in large blue jerry cans in the back of his pick-up truck and uses a hose to fill our ten large water bottles, and sometimes another three 25-liter jerry cans. We pay him LE 10 for each of the 60 liters we have received. We then purify the water with disinfectant chlorine drops and store the bottles inside or outside, covered and in the shade. Before we use the water, we run it through a Brita (charcoal) filter to remove the chlorine and some of the minerals present in the water.
We have purchased water from a variety of sellers/wells over the years and the water is always delicious! We have even had rain water delivered.
TIP: If you’d like to start using the well water, start by purchasing one of the large blue jerry cans or several of the smaller white jerry cans (if you don’t want to deal with moving the weight of the large ones). Next, ask a friend or neighbor for a recommendation for a “water man”. If no one has a recommendation, flag a truck down when it passes on your street – listen for the honking of the horns. Get his phone number so that next time you can call for delivery.
TIP: Be aware that the price of the water will vary depending on the source and can range from LE 10 – 20 per 60 liters. Some water comes from wells that are further away and some water comes from wells that contain less minerals and so is more expensive.
I have consumed plenty of “untreated” well water over the years and have never gotten ill. I would drink well water, from a known and trusted source, even if I didn’t disinfect and filter it myself. This of course is a personal choice we each have to make.
TIP: Choose a simple water purification technique. Boiling is one option. Chlorine or household bleach is another. This Department of Health website recommends 5 drops of household bleach per liter.
Do you drink well water? If not, would you be willing to switch to well water? Why or why not?
Read Part 1 of this issue. Stay tuned for Part 3 for information on other drinking water options.
Refuse ~ Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle