Not even AJ, my dog, drinks the tap water in Todos Santos.
I don’t know all the minerals or other contaminants that are in the water, but enough that even the native Mexicans use bottled water. With AJ having kidney disease, I wasn’t about to find out what it would do to her.
I shower and brush my teeth with the regular water. It’s also used to wash dishes and clothes, and for outdoor plants.
I use treated water for cooking rice-quinoa-pasta, even to boil eggs. Guests use this “good” water for coffee as well. For washing produce I put a few drops of a solution into good water. This was recommended from Rhoda, who has wintered in Mexico the last few years.
The number of bottles I go through in a month varies based on how many people are here and the amount of cooking/coffee making. I’ve never spent more than $4 in a month.
Restaurants often serve bottled water when you request aqua. I often have my water bottle with me, at least for casual dining. The whole plastic issue is the main reason, as well as being cheap.
Water is a bit of a luxury here. In an average year, Todos Santos gets about 6 inches of rain. The Sierra de La Laguna mountains that run through a large swath of the middle of Baja California Sur get more rain. It is from these mountains that the aquifers of the area are filled.
Baja California Sur is the driest state in Mexico. This doesn’t seem to bother the government since it keeps giving permits for development. This state is also the fastest growing one in the country.
Officials in Cabo San Lucas got smart a few years ago when they implemented a policy mandating major developments have their own desalination and wastewater treatment plants. Desalinization plants, though, have numerous environmental red flags associated with them.
As more gringos have moved to the Todos Santos area, more options are available for treated water. Many full-timers install purification systems so they can use their tap. It’s possible to do so just in the kitchen or on any faucet.
I get my drinking water in bottles that are just more than 5 gallons. There is a purification plant in town with a reverse osmosis water treatment system. Water U-2000, the company, has been doing this type of work for at least 35 years.
While there are various workers there, usually it’s the same young man – who didn’t give me his name – who helps me. He washes the empty plastic bottle I bring him, then has two overhead faucets in order to fill more than one bottle at a time. He dries off the bottle, puts the cap on and collects my 10 pesos – 53 cents. When he carries it to the Jeep, he gets a 5-peso tip; not much, but still 50 percent.
It’s possible to have water bottles like this delivered, but this way is working for me. Carrying it upstairs and getting a bottle into the downstairs container adds to my weightlifting for the day.
Downstairs I use the custom-made metal container my sister had here. The bottle sits in it. When it comes to using it, the bottle is tipped forward to pour from it. Upstairs I have a pump on the top. Both do their job.