At first, drinking the tap water is not advisable—as the water does
not go through the same purification process as in the EU, diarrhoea
can occur in people who have not yet built up immunity to bacteria
or other dirtiness in the water.
It is best to buy bottled water or to boil tap water for at least
twenty minutes to make the water suitable for consumption.
After about two months, you probably
can safely start drinking the water, in small amounts at first, as
most likely your body has adjusted through exposure to the water while
brushing teeth, showering, and eating foods cooked with water not
fully boiled. However, to limit health risks, never drink water from
anything but the tap or covered cement wells.
The cheapest safe water option is to buy 500 ml pouches of
Naturelle water. (Naturelle is a water purification and bottling
company called Gamwater located in Kanifing.) You can buy these pouches
individually from most local shops for about
£0.07. If you are
buying in bulk, some local shops sell cases of thirty pouches
for about $1.25—a fantastic deal, considering 1.5 litre bottles
of the same stuff individually cost between $1.10 and $1.80. If
you do buy bottles, never throw them away—to Gambians, empty
bottles are prized commodities for storing water, palm oil, palm
wine, and other liquids.
If you get tired of drinking plain water all of the time, you
can buy small packets of power drink mix from local shops or the
supermarkets for about $0.25 to $0.90. One popular brand is
Foster Clarks, which comes in a variety of flavours, including
orange, strawberry, mango, pineapple, mixed berry, cola, et al.
Local shops usually will have only two or three flavours—go to
supermarkets for the whole gamut.
If you want water and want to say it in Wolof then the word
for water is "Ndohh".
water supply already at present is a major problem for the urban
areas of Gambia's Kombos. The level of the ground water is
constantly sinking and there have been water shortages for a
number of years. This mainly is due to enormous use of water for
tourism facilities. In the
in 1986, the water consumption per bed amounted to 500 litres a
The situation will only be improved by drilling new bore holes
and constructing more overhead water tanks at Kotu South. But
again, this may not be realized in the immediate future.
Therefore, considering the present water supply and ecological
implications, all allocated and future projects have to be
carefully and critically scrutinised before they are approved or
Total water withdrawal was 31.8 million m3 in the year 2000. The largest
user was agriculture with 21.3 million m3/year (67%, followed by the domestic sector with 6.9 million
m3/year (22 per cent) and industry with 3.6 million m3/year (11
Surface water is rarely used as a source of potable water in the
Gambia, because of the persistently saline conditions which
exist in the lower reaches of the River Gambia and its
tributaries, where the main urban areas and tourism facilities
are located. The potable demand for residential areas, tourism,
industry, livestock and irrigation watering is supplied by