Is tap water safe to drink in Sweden?

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The water in northern Scandinavia is of drinking quality almost everywhere. Many German hikers use disinfectant tablets or even painstakingly filter the water, but I don't think that's necessary. In fact, I haven't come across a single local who has taken such precautionary measures.

When I was out in the north for the first time and asked for drinking water at a nearby house, the residents looked at me in amazement. They replied, “Why don't you get the water in the lake next door? Our aqueduct also sucks the water directly out of the lake! "

In my experience, you can drink the water on all tours (except if stated in the text) if you follow a few rules:

  • If possible, drink from flowing or even strongly flowing waters. Rivers are therefore better suited than lakes or even pools.
  • If you have the choice, you should choose clear water instead of cloudy water. In the north, the cloudiness often only comes from harmless humus substances, but if the water is polluted, the harmful effects are increased by the humus.
  • When pollution occurs, most of the time it comes from humans or dead animals. So you should avoid bodies of water near campsites or settlements, for example. You should also keep your hands off rivers, where herds of reindeer graze on their upper reaches and leave excrement behind.
  • In spring, when the snow melts, you have to be extra careful. The waters are filled with month-old and partly polluted snow. During this time, especially in wooded areas with numerous animals, I recommend melting snow instead of river water or at least boiling the water.

Otherwise you usually come across water sources every hour, sometimes even every minute, so that it is not necessary to carry large water bottles with you. On hot summer days, I usually only fill a small quarter-liter bottle that easily reaches the next water source.

It is different in winter: a meter-thick layer of ice and snow prevents the direct scooping from water. When the Swedish hut keepers are present during the high season (from about mid-March to the beginning of June), they drill holes in the ice with powerful ice drills and cover them with wooden planks to prevent them from freezing over again. A helpful service, because you can draw buckets of water with little effort.

Anyone who is on the road before the main season has to melt the snow. A tedious but uncomplicated matter after getting used to it. Since the snow melts down to around 20% of its volume, you often have to fill up with snow in front of the hut and the pot. If there is already some water in the pot and you squeeze the snow hard, you can increase the yield. To save fuel, it is best to put the pots or metal pails directly on the furnace. Nevertheless: The melting of the snow remains an evening-long affair (especially if there are several guests in the hut).

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