Tap water in Las Palmas Gran Canaria unsafe to drink
The health authorities in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria have told people not to drink tap water or to use it for the preparation of food due to the excess of a chemical substance called boron which has been detected in water supplies to the capital at higher levels than permitted by law. The prohibition on the use of tap water also affects the food industry in and around Las Palmas. However, tap water can still be used for cleaning and personal hygiene.
The concentration of boron which has been detected in densely populated areas of Las Palmas is between 1.1 and 1.3 milligrams per litre when the level set down by law is 1 milligram per litre.
Nevertheless, people living in Las Palmas, which has a population of 381,000 inhabitants, usually use bottled water for domestic consumption due to the bad taste of the tap water supplied to their homes.
The neighbourhoods which have been affected by the ban on tap water are – Arenales, Guanarteme, La Minilla, Santa Catalina, Las Canteras, La Isleta, Puerto de La Luz, Tafira, Montañeta, Los Hoyos, Marzagán, Vegueta, San Cristóbal, El Batán, San Roque, Triana and Miller.
Boron is a chemical substance which can be found in sea water. However, Emalsa, the water company in charge of supplying clean water to Las Palmas, has said that at present it cannot reduce the concentration of boron in its water supplies to the limits set down under Spanish law using their current water filtration system.
According to Emalsa, which has opened a permanent telephone line which the public can ring for further information (902 36 17 40), the restrictions on the use of tap water will remain in place until the health authorities lift the ban on its use.
In an urgent press conference last night the town hall of Las Palmas announced that water supplies to Las Palmas presented levels of boron ‘slightly superior’ to those permitted by law which is why it was asking for ‘caution’ until the health authorities announced that tap water was drinkable once again.
Following the announcement of the restrictions on the use of tap water the department of health for the government of Gran Canaria also announced that it would be opening legal proceedings against Emalsa for not meeting the required standards for the human consumption of tap water as stipulated by law.