Soap about turbid waters

The first weeks after I arrived in Croatia, my skin was itchy and irritated. I soon realised the reason was the high level of chloride in Croatian tap water. My body got used to it, although the smell sometimes still bothers me. Also annoying is the huge amount of calcium bicarbonate in the water. Within weeks coffee machines and water cookers stop working properly due to limescale.
You can image I was surprised to find out that - of all things - citizens of Zagreb are the most proud of drinkable tap water. I can't see why. I used to drink a lot of tap water, but Zagreb's tap water tastes too bad. According to the same survey, Zagrepčani are equally proud of Maksimir park. Well, that makes more sense.
The survey was conducted on the eve of the International Healthy Cities Conference, held in Zagreb this week. I can't prove the survey's questions were biased, but would you spontaneously mention "tap water" if somebody asked you to name the city's number one pride? Certainly not the people living in the new apartments in the Vrbani neighbourhood who were unaware of drinking contaminated water for a long time. The city blamed the construction company and advised the residents not to use tap water to take shower, let alone to drink it, but to get water from the hydrant outside of their buildings. The residents faithfully did so, only to find out that it was contaminated too. The blame then shifted to the municipal Water Supply. The construction company now says the residents tarnished its image and it seeks a million kuna damages. It's no water under the bridge yet...

3 reacties:

Anonymous said...

It's a myth widespread in Croatia that in most western countries tap water is undrinkable and everybody buys bottled water :)

Boris Levalle said...

Interesting. I remember I once started talking to a Croat about the differences between Croatia and Western Europe (or OTHER Western European countries, if you like). Before I could give an example, he interrupted me with a proud smile, saying: "You mean that in the West you can't drink water straight from the tap."
I wonder where this popular believe comes from?

Anonymous said...

I think it's true that in some parts of... maybe Mexico you cannot drink it.

I think there are two points:

1. In ex-Yugoslavia everyone was amazed that people in the West drink some bottled water (at least we saw commercials for it; we had none, only sprinkling bottled water): People thought "why?" "It must be their tap water is bad"...

2. It was a standard propaganda "our communism achieved so much". But it's worth noting that until recently many people in Zagreb were not connected to supply system. It's hard to imagine how undeveloped Yugoslavia was in the early 20th century!

IMHO Croatia is more-or-less Southern Europe, not that different from southern Italy or some parts of Greece. The inland is not that different from Hungary...

Daniel N.