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 impurities in the water.
It is best to buy bottled water or to boil tap water
for at least 2 minutes to make the water suitable for
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 bottles
of Naturelle water. (Naturelle is a water purification
and bottling company called Gamwater
located in Kanifing.) You can buy these or similar bottles
individually from most local shops. If you are buying
in bulk, some local shops sell cases of bottles—a fantastic
deal, considering 1.5 litre bottles of the same stuff
individually costs disproportionately higher. 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. 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".
The 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 Senegambia Hotel, in 1986, the water consumption
per bed amounted to 500 litres a day!
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 implemented.