Is it safe to drink?

Bottled water takes a lot of resources to produce and generates waste, and isn't necessarily healthier. In South Africa, we're lucky to have good-quality tap water that's generally fine to drink.

As a rule, it's best to get your drinking water from the cold water tap in the kitchen; sometimes nasty things can get into hot water tanks and cisterns if they're poorly maintained. Rather take water from the cold tap for to make hot beverages, and heat it up in the kettle or microwave.

It's also a good idea, if you're not sure of the age or state of the plumbing, to let the cold tap run for a moment to flush any traces of lead or other undesirables before you drink it. Don't let that water just go down the drain though of course – use it for cleaning, watering plants or flushing the toilet.

- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, February 2012

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