How to access clean drinking water without harming the planet

Filling up a bottle of water from a drinking fountain

Drinking clean water can be quite a conundrum for travellers heading to countries where the local water may be inaccessible or unclean.

Some common water-borne diseases from unclean water are typhoid fever, cholera, hepatitis A or E, giardia, malaria and dengue fever to name a few.

Which is why so many travellers and locals reach out for plastic water bottles as the only reliable source of clean water while travelling.

According to a UN report, as many as 3 in every 10 people do not have access to safe or readily available water at home and twice as many do not have monitored sanitation.

That’s a staggering 2.1 billion people worldwide who lack the basic privilege of clean and safe drinking water.

With modern travellers seeking new and off the beaten path travel and experiences, many of these countries are often those with the dirtiest water such as Nigeria, Cambodia, Nepal, Ghana, Bhutan, Pakistan, Congo and Mexico.

Unclean water can also occur in countries affected by flooding, tsunamis, natural disasters and anywhere when water supplies are affected.

So what to do?

If the idea of buying plastic bottles of water while travelling gives you anxiety like it does to me, then consider one of these suggestions for reliable clean water.

LifeStraw Go Drinking Bottle has by far become the most popular option since it was launched in 2006.

The genius is the straw, that acts as the filter and can be bought as a stand-alone product as well.


You simply need to stuck the water through the straw for it to be filtered. It will eliminate 99.9 per cent of bacteria, parasites and other diseases for up to 4000 litres.

Plus with every purchase, LifeStraw will give one child in need safe drinking water for a year and they are also involved in many social and humanitarian causes.

It’s light, compact, comes in a range of colours and a great affordable option for reliable clean water anywhere you travel.

GRAYL Ultralight water purifier also removes 99.9 per cent of pathogens leaving you with clean tasting water in just 15 seconds.


The filter sits inside the bottle and needs to be replaced every 3 months or up to 150 litres, but you can keep reusing the bottle.

It’s also a company dedicated to giving back to environmental projects and conservation.

Water to Go Bottles uses nanotechnology filters that were originally patented for use by NASA.

The filters use a hydrostatic charge drawing out 99.9 per cent of impurities for clean drinking water, anywhere, anytime and from any water source.


The filter will last up to 200 litres and the bottles are BPA free. The company gives back to many charities and projects and raises the awareness of clean drinking water for everyone.

WaterWell bottles come in 700mls and a foldable squeeze bottle in 500mls, are another popular option for ‘ultra filtration’ of outdoor water including rivers, puddles or taps.

It works by using a filter inside the bottle that can be replaced every 1000 litres and eliminates 99.9 per cent of bacteria and parasites.


So when deciding which reusable bottle to purchase, consider where you are travelling to, how long for and what kind of water will be accessible.

Remember, no price can be placed on health and our environment, so by using a filtered water bottle, you will always have access to clean drinking water, proudly say no to all plastic bottles and help our environment.

Written by Dayana Brooke, Founder of The Sustainable Traveller, a travel agency and community for travellers seeking sustainable travel bookings. Dayana has been booking travel for 17 years and an independent affiliate of Savenio, a member or Virtuoso and 1% For The Planet. Dayana advocates for sustainable tourism and veganism for the future of our planet.

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