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Water?

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Water?

So, I know that we can't drink the water on the island and have to buy bottled water. I have a (possibly) dumb question. Can we cook with the water? For example, I am packing some of those little mac and cheese cups for my son. You just add water and cook them for 3 minutes 30 seconds. Do I need to use bottled water when I microwave these for him? Thanks!

Windsor, Canada
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for Eleuthera
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1. Re: Water?

It depends if your rental has a cistern or tap water, and how the water is treated. Most of the tap water on the island is bacteriologically safe, just a little brackish, but different parts of the island have different sources for tap water. We cook with our tapwater and brush our teeth with it, and have never had problems.

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2. Re: Water?

Our house is Da Villa. Not sure if that's cistern or tap.

New England
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3. Re: Water?

If you are worried about it, buy an extra 5 gallon jug of water and be safe, especially for a kid. Nothing will ruin your trip faster than a stomach bug (or even just worrying about a stomach bug)...that said, we do sometimes cook with it, especially if it will be boiled (i.e pasta), but I don't like it in my ice cubes or my coffee. I have never gotten sick from the water, but it just doesn't taste very good.

Water, even if you buy every drop you consume, will not amount to much in your overall trip buidget - better safe than sorry.

Eleuthera
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2,455 posts
18 reviews
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4. Re: Water?

I'm *guessing* that's cistern water, as there are only a few houses up that way, not sure they would have run a spur all the way up there for a couple of customers. But I could be wrong.

We alternate between cisterns and the gov't. tap, depending on supply, pressure, etc. I cook and make coffee with both, even brush our teeth with both, never had a problem. We use bottled water for drinking and ice cubes as its taste is more neutral and consistent.

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5. Re: Water?

Thanks, everyone. Good point on being better safe than sorry. I will probably buy ice as my husband has an odd obsession with "cocktail" ice for all his cocktails. LOL

Bristow, Virginia
6 posts
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6. Re: Water?

My mother-in-law has traveled with us twice and she has a compromised immune system (leukemia) and she is able to brush her teeth, cook, etc. and she's fine. We don't drink the water. We use bottled water and filtered water for drinking coffee, etc. All of our children have been fine, but we don't drink the tap. You should be fine with cooking.

By the way, if he has a favorite cereal or treat pack it in your suitcase as it may be hard to find on the island depending on what it is.

US
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60 posts
2 reviews
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7. Re: Water?

I have a very sensitive stomach. I would not ingest water from a cistern unless you know for sure others are using it without regret -- I still don't take those chances. We use bottled water and buy it either in 1 gallon or 5 gallon jugs -- cheap thrills when you consider how much you have invested in a vacation. If you have a sensitive stomach, then drinks in a can would be the way to go when you're in a restaurant and you're still having to be concerned with vegetables that get rinsed.

I take a probiotic like "Align" for several weeks before I go to the Bahamas and continue to take it for the duration of the trip. Where you can also pick up stomach bugs by what you touch -- this is usually where I've got mine in the past. It took me a while to figure this out (Doctor finally set me straight), but now that I have figured it out, I haven't been hit since -- knock on wood. I always wipe down things with a sanitizer product; things like steering wheels and other things I touch on a rental car, door knobs of a rental unit, etc. Airports and airplanes are also very suspect, so I when I travel, I use a hand sanitizer quite a bit and I try to keep my hands to myself.

If I do get bit by the stomach bug while I'm there, the only thing that really gets rid it is ciprofloxacin which requires a prescription. Any of the treatments for diarrhea only mask the bug -- they don't get rid of it. I know this for fact too. We nearly had to cut one trip short because I was getting too dehydrated, and no matter what I took, I couldn't shake it. Cistern water is what did me in on that trip.

Once more for the record, I have a sensitive stomach. Others will insist that none of this is necessary and nothing ever happens to them. This includes my wife.

Hope this helps.

Michigan
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12 posts
33 reviews
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8. Re: Water?

I am not fussy, but only drink or put in my mouth bottled water. If it a cistern, look at it some time in the middle of the night, little frogs come into the sink. Too many bugs for me. Boil it and use it any way you want. We boil it to wash dishes in the sink. Minor inconvenience to be safe.

Gastonia, North...
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3,359 posts
53 reviews
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9. Re: Water?

My husband and I got very sick from cistern water in Eleuthera. We used it to make ice. He got sick on our last night there and had to fly home like that. I got it the next day. Some say that the presence of frogs in the cistern is a good thing, meaning your water is good. Never again...

We buy imported bottled water to drink and make ice with. Town water is ok to cook with, wash etc.

Eleuthera
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2,455 posts
18 reviews
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10. Re: Water?

*Really* sorry to hear that. And I agree with you, the presence of frogs in a cistern is not necessarily a "good thing" -- that's an old wive's tale, although it's not necessarily frogs or insects that are the source of bacterial infections.

One thing to keep in mind is that not all cisterns are equal. Ours are well-sealed, drained and cleaned as needed, and are supplemented by water pumped in from a nearby natural well. We also treat the cistern water with small amounts of chlorine bleach -- an approach that might sound off-putting but is proven viable as a purification method, especially when the application is carefully controlled in precise measures. Purified "city water" is treated with chemicals, including chlorine, as well.

With that, we don't have any frogs or creepy-crawlies living in our cisterns. We've been able to use that water with confidence over the years for showering, cooking, coffee, etc., but we do use bottled water or purified, reverse-osmosis government tap water for drinking and for ice cubes.