Expats living in Sosua, Dominican Republic, buy water for drinking and use the public water system for home cleaning purposes. The water coming from the public water system looks clean appearance, but, wisely, none of the foreigners here drink the water from the tap.
Drinking water defined: Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long-term harm.
Cost for 5-gallon bottle of purified water? 35 Dominican pesos (less than 1 USD). The providers want a 150-200 pesos bottle deposit; but truly, the locals usually refuse to give the money back. You need to make sure you talk with an honest person. The better option is to have your apartment manager give you a bottle.
Cost for one liter of purified water? 25-30 Dominican pesos
Pros of drinking water in Sosua?
There are stands selling 5-gallon bottles of drinking water outside of many businesses, and they are easy to find. Take your empty bottle to any of them and exchange it for the same brand name. We do not need to return to same store.
The public water is clean enough for washing only. It does not leave smells in clothing or make your body itch after a shower. And there is no particulate matter to see; it is clear.
Cons of drinking water in Sosua?
The purified water sold varies greatly in price because Sosua is a known tourist trap. The locals charge prices as high as the market will bear.
The economical, 5-gallon bottles are heavy, and the locals are not helpful about carrying them; therefore, it’s best to choose an apartment close to convenience stores.
The owners of apartments in Sosua feel little or no compulsion to provide water, bottles or assist you in living. Most apartments are extremely self-service. But in defence of the owners, most of the clientele are about as generous same as the owners of the apartments.
There is almost no way to know when tap water is contaminated by sewage because the infrastructure is not trustworthy. Political corruption allows proper procedures to be bypassed by construction companies.
Andy, how do you know that 5-gallon bottles arent filled at the tap? and if the bottles are exchanged, what kind of process is used to sterilise the bottles at the filling source? are they plastic or glass?
There is no way to be positive they are not filled up a the tap. However, there are many water trucks in the area delivering water to stores. And, each bottle does have the plastic wrap. The bottles are plastic, and I have never seen a glass bottle in the area. I will keep taking photos, and photos tell the story.
Note, Sasino stores their bottle in stands often in the direct sunlight, this alone, the ultraviolet light kills most problems in water. For sure Sosua is not the cleanest places on the planet.
Strange as it seems, I do not drink the water here, but did drink it in Togo and Ivory Coast, because they were better at water management. There is not the proper separation of water from sewer here, or in Central, South American and Southeast Asia.
When people carry the water to their house, the water is better, because it is more closed system.
Andy, there are differing opions/findings about the molecular breakdown of plastic under sunlight allowing various compounds (some cancer-causing) to leach into the water. a safe procedure would be to decant water from plastic bottles stored in SHADE rather than sunlight - decant the water into transparent glass bottles and let those bottles sit in the sun. then refrigerate. no easy answers. the reason why a lot of travelers now carry their own water in their own bottles rather than purchasing road-side drinking water in clear plastic bottles. yes, i agree. water is often safe to drink from faucets and wells in W. Africa - in a water survey in Senegal we found well water cleaner than bottled water (of a particular brand).
Optimizing odds against water related problems is all one can do, but all in all the 5-gallon bottles here are probably as good as you get for plastic bottle countries.
The water borne disease are not an obvious problem here, but the men in Sosua are not the whining or complaining, overly worried group.