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Drinking Water in Nepalese Mountain Villages

If you’re travelling to a third world country like Nepal, all the guidebooks tell you to avoid drinking the local water for fear of coming down with something that might ruin your trip. This fear of water is such that even fresh vegetables bought from street vendors or in restaurants are suspect, as they may have been washed in unclean water.

While this is good advice if you’re staying in Kathmandu, or in many of the towns at the bottom of the mountain, it’s not true of the villages that dot the Lower Himalayas. These villages, Batase amongst them, have access to some of the most pure and perfect water in the world. After all, it doesn’t come from a well that can be contaminated by industrial or other pollution, and it doesn’t come from a tap that feeds off a central reservoir, whose care and maintenance might be suspect.


The water in these mountain villages comes from mountain streams. It flows down the mountain from peaks not inhabited by humans, and along the way encounters nothing but wilderness. There are no factories pushing pollution into rivers and streams at these altitudes, no sewage systems leaking into the surrounding countryside, and no reservoirs to become contaminated due to poor management.

Do you buy bottled water? Perrier, Volvic, Evian? All of these world famous bottled water brands come from sources that pale in comparison to the water that flows off the Himalayas. And it is this water that supplies villages like Batase.

What this means for volunteers in the village, is that you can ignore the well meaning advice in your guidebook about not drinking the local water. Until you return to Kathmandu that is, at which point, we recommend you return to only drinking from sealed bottles if you want to avoid repeated trips to the toilet.

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