A new craze has hit California–raw water. I wish I could say that I was inventing this, but a long article in the New York Times confirms that I am not. Apparently some people have decided that the only water fit to drink comes from mountain streams, lakes, rooftops, and other places and is unfiltered, untreated and therefore “raw.”
I grew up in Oregon and knew better than to drink from “clear” mountain streams. As pictured above, wildlife drink from these same water sources and are not particular about where they leave their “waste products.” The most common backpacking acquired illness–giardia–comes from such animals. A nasty bug, and no one who has ever endured it would be naive enough to tout the advantage of untreated water.
I think the supreme irony is that 900 million people on earth have to drink “raw” water because they have no access to safe water. They get to “experience” the health benefits of “raw” water, including cholera and dysentery.