It’s been a cliche for years, but even the locals in Mexico warn tourists to avoid drinking tap water or water sold from a street vendor. It’s become such a truism that it’s taken on a mythological status, ie, something horrible happens to you if you drink the water in Mexico. But the truth is that some tap water in parts of Mexico isn’t safe for drinking or bathing, and here are the reasons this is the case, and what you can do to protect yourself when you travel south of the border.

 

 

PROBLEM

 

Rusty Pipes

rusty-pipesSource

A lot of the water in Mexico flows through a pipe system that hasn’t been upgraded in many years, which causes all kinds of deposits to leak into the water system. These deposits aren’t filtered on their way to people’s taps, so they contaminate a lot of the drinking water available.

 

Obsolete Water Tanks

water tankSource

Water that is kept in water tanks for storage hasn’t been upgraded in decades, which results in the same issue caused by rusty pipes. And many of these water tanks are constructed from asbestos, which hasn’t been used in more modern storage tanks, but was very common prior to the late 1970s. This means that these tanks leak harmful substances into the water they hold, and that doesn’t help the quality of Mexico’s water supply.

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Pipas

water-truckSource

People who live outside the city limits where water is subsidized by the government, are forced to rely on water that is brought to them by pipas, which are trucks that carry water. This water is delivered to outlying residents through a hose, and there is no way for the government to control the quality of that water.