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Sånn er det: The purest water in the world

3 June 2011

In my previous “Sånn er det” post I pointed to one of the special charms of Norway: its refusal to fence in nature. Sure, go ahead, crawl over to that cliff edge and peer 6000 feet down. What are rescue helicopters for anyway?

I wrote that I would be sad to see nature penned up for the sake of safeguarding tourists like the poor Swede who thought he’d found a trail but ended up dangling from the mountainside. (Poor Swede because, well, it’s so flat in Sweden. You can watch his successful Norwegian Air Ambulance rescue here.)

In this post I will revise my earlier view: the city of Bergen should really consider putting very high fences around some of their natural places. Specifically I mean the mountain lakes known as our drinking water.

The drinking water reservoir in the mountains near my house.

All of the reservoirs around Bergen are conveniently located next to popular hiking trails.

Anyone for a swim?

I’m not sure if this is a form of advertisement (“Look! All natural drinking water!”) or some sort of traditional Sunday pastime (“Shall we go have a look at the drinking water?”), but you can walk right up to the water’s edge if you want to. A sign nearby thanks you for not swimming in it or riding your horse through it.

The sign reads: "Drinking water. No swimming, fishing, camping, use of boats, riding. Thank you for not polluting our drinking water. Have a good hike!"

I should point out that this is one of the only places in Norway where you will find a sign telling you what you cannot do. (Norwegians heart anarchy independence.)

What is clear about this sign (and from the absence of fences, walls or security cameras) is that Norwegians trust you. That’s right. They trust you to obey their sign and not, say, pee in the drinking water just for kicks.

Hmm. I have just noticed that “no peeing” is not actually one of the rules on the sign. But never mind. The ducks certainly can’t read and are always swimming, fishing and camping in the reservoir. And probably peeing and pooping in it, too. As for the sheep roaming the mountains around Bergen, well, you know sheep. One look at the ducks splashing around in there and they want to have a go. In the fall of 2004 a sheep was all, “Hey guys! Look at me!” and then drowned in the drinking water. The other sheep didn’t know how to pull him out so we had to boil our tap water for a week. 27 people in Bergen were hospitalized with giardia.

But “Sånn er det!”— because, with the exception of the odd decaying animal, we really, really do have the world’s purest and best-tasting water pouring right out of our kitchen faucets.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Bente permalink
    3 June 2011 11:57

    Hehe, sånn kan det gå. Her i Trondheim har vi også drikkevannskildene våre plassert midt i bymarka som er hele trondheimsbefolknings turområde. Et slikt skilt her også, men jeg har sett både hester og folk plaske ute i der….jeg vet til og med at militæret en gang hadde en flåteøvelse der…hvor tisset de da mon tro?:p

    Men…selvsagt skal jo også dette vannet gjennom hauger av siler og filter, og jeg stoler på at dette gjør susen. Og jeg tror immunforsvaret vårt dessuten kan ha godt av en liten utfordring nå og da. Dessuten er jeg sjeleglad for å slippe dette klorsmakende “døde”-vannet en får i andre land 😀

    Du skriver så flott og underholdende, og jeg elsker å se norge og nordmenn litt fra utsiden. Det tror jeg at vi har godt av!

    Apropos natur, denne siden liker jeg når jeg skal “ut i naturen”: http://ut.no/
    – selv om jeg egentlig mener det bør hete “INN i naturen” 🙂

  2. jenaconti permalink
    3 June 2011 19:37

    Militæret med flåteøvelse??? LOL! Men jeg er enig med deg at jeg vil heller slippe klor og flour og “God knows what” i vannet i annet sted. Jeg elsker vannet fra norge, men måtte le litt og om ideen at vannet her er så “ren”. 🙂 Takk for kommentar!

    — og takk for flott linken til ut.no!

  3. jenaconti permalink
    3 June 2011 19:42

    For my English readers: Bente commented above that Trondheim uses the same drinking water system from un-fenced mountain lakes, right in the middle of trail areas. She said she has seen both horses and people splashing about in the water … and even a military rafting exercise taking place in the drinking water! (to which I responded: LOL!) But we both agreed that we are happy to drink water that hasn’t been treated with chlorine or other nasty chemicals … and that perhaps the odd dead sheep is good for the immune system. 😉

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