Oct 29 2007
While most people don’t believe this is safe, I have never filtered or boiled the water I have been drinking at ant point in my life. And I have drunk a lot of stream water. There are a few factors which I believe make this safe in some parts of Norway, that may not be present everywhere else:
- Few people in the mountains, few people to leave litter and pollution.
- No cattle and little livestock in general. Animals can pollute the water if they are kept in an area in high concentrations.
- Large rainfall and fast flowing water. The water doesn’t usually have time to gather pathogens.
There are a few guidelines though, which I always follow:
- I don’t ever drink water that is miscoloured, foul tasting or smelling. Some bog taste can live with.
- I rarely drink from wide rivers, since chances are that human interference above will pollute the water. If I know there is no such interference, I do drink it and prefer it. This is because a potential carcass upstream will have the washed out bacteria dilluted in a greater river than in a larger stream.
- For lakes, the rule is as for rivers.
- Take the water where it flows with the greatest speed (within very reasonable walking distance of course) to avoid buildups of pathogens. Water with some air in will also taste fresher.
- Do not drink from lakes with very large beaver influence or immediately beneath them.
There will always be bacteria in the water, but when in low concentrations, your immune system will take care of it. I know a very few incidents of giardia in Norway, keep in mind that the European variety of giardia is less than 5% lethal if infected. Below: Streams such as these are usually safe.
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