UAE tap water 'completely safe'

Tap water in the UAE is "completely safe to drink" and residents "shouldn't rely so heavily on bottled products", panellists argued at the eighth community lecture held by the Emirates Environmental Group.

Image Credit:Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News
Panellists at a community lecture urged UAE residents to drink water from taps instead of buying bottled water.They called on educating the public and raising awareness about the issue.
Gulf News

Dubai: Tap water in the UAE is "completely safe to drink" and residents "shouldn't rely so heavily on bottled products", panellists argued at the eighth community lecture held by the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG).

Attendees discussed new challenges in the Middle East's water conservation efforts, and in particular the concept of "water footprint".

One of the key concerns raised was the dependence of many UAE residents on bottled water.

Habiba Al Marashi, chairperson of the EEG, said: "It is important we tackle the misconception that tap water is not fit for human consumption. We need to educate people and build awareness in order to reduce reliance on bottled water.

"I believe we are part of a 'synthetic generation' as many people are not in touch with natural resources.

"The Middle East region has been gaining ground in economic development; it must also pay attention and give priority to issues related to diminishing water supplies.

We need to be more environmentally aware and join in efforts to save our natural resources."

Demand for bottled water in the UAE remains high despite the fact that tap water is desalinated, a process that consumes large amounts of energy, into a highly pure product.

Sarfraz H. Dairkee, a founding board member of the Emirates Green Building Council and head of the Technical Committee, said the UAE had a growing water footprint that could also have an impact on neighbouring countries.

He said: "In the UAE, the availability of natural resources is near zero per cent but there is a huge demand for water. The UAE, and the rest of the Gulf, has a very high water consumption, which in turn leads to a high water footprint."

"[The] water footprint is a key indicator of the amount of water used directly and indirectly to produce goods and services, Dairkee said.

"There is an imbalance in the footprint making it a pressing issue that we should look into and start resolving."

Would you drink tap water? Why? Would you give up bottled water to save money and other resources?

Your comments

I live in uae from past 19 years.I was born here itself and from birth i drink tap water and i see no problem in drinking it.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 17:50

My life is going on Tap water and it is really good and healthy , ALLHAMDULILLAH , I am safe and nothing wrong with TAP Water , I Suggest everybody should taste .
Abdul Razzak
Posted: July 30, 2009, 17:49

I dont think the salty tap water in Ajman is safe at all. I would not even want to filter it before consumption.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 17:48

I just recently bought a water purifier capable of producing 50 gallons per day. In my opinion, we should go for water purification at home than buying bottled water. Bottled water consumption contributes to pollution and eventually global warming!!!
Posted: July 30, 2009, 17:34

still we are getting salty water in sharjah, umm al quain, ras al khaima etc. can the authorities look into it?
Posted: July 30, 2009, 17:26

This time A good subject has come our way. well I am grown here
Zahid Amin
Posted: July 30, 2009, 16:58

Last 19 years we are in Dubai and using tap water. Yes we do boil tap water and use as drinking water. We are using tap water since 1990 till date
Dilip Sur
Posted: July 30, 2009, 16:23

Hi all of you,We drink tap water in India but I donno why there is a trend of drinking bottled waters in UAE. We dont give all these reasons in India even when the conditions are sometimes even worse than UAE.Regards
Posted: July 30, 2009, 16:21

It's too hard for me to rely on tap water as our building maintenance is so poor that we have dirty floors and stairs so u can guess what would be the water tank and pipes? First install hygienic auto cleansing processed tanks so that the pure water will reach end users as it is without being contaminated.
Nimmy Suresh
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 16:11

I wouldn't take the risk of drinking tap water.Not even to my 2 cats i give tap water.Only bottle water is safe.
Costas Shamtanis
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 16:04

I believe that water that has undergone disalination process is very clean, but what affects its purity are the pipes to which it passes through. I agree that tests must be conducted at places where it is far enough from the source. Also, I suggest that building, villas and apartment owners must take the initiative of having the water which goes through its pipes be tested, and have the result posted at the entrance of each building so that its tenants would be assured that their water is safe for drinking.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:59

I have been drinking bottled water ever since i came to UAE. Maybe because i had this notion all along that tap water is not safe to drink. Should indeed tap water is drinkable? why sometimes it is brown and seems like with soil on it... Is desalinaton process enough to make the water free from bacteria?
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:49

Tap water is safe to drink here in UAE to be more safe we have installed ceremic water filter which is not very expensive which is directly connected to pipeline coming in kitchen, so we get filtered water.The quality of water is good we are drinking this same water from past 2 years.
Mala K. Muriya
Bur Dubai,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:40

Me and my family have always been drinking tap water in Dubai since last 8 years. ofcourse we dont drink directly from tap, we drink it after filtering the dirt which might have accumilated from the pipe fittings and overhear tank using a normal commercially available water filter.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:28

I am drinking Tap water with a filter for the last one year and no harms. I continue to do so for the detterment of of my pocket and environment.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:26

the quality of the tap water cannot be trusted, specialy with tanks on the roof getting warm with sunlight, i highly disagree with drinking water affected by sunlight and in general the quality of pipes in buildings and the claenliness of the equipmnent is huge concern.
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:24

I have been using tap water since childhood, but recently my husband was suffering from Kidney stone and the doctor recommended to stop drinking tap water. Is it safe for children and babies??
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:23

The other day I was in sharjah and saw yellow...yes...yellow water come out of the pipes. I also think it smells like a swimming pool and tastes like clorine. I dont give my cat tap water, maybe I would have to pay for his vet? I would rather pay for bottled water. I think the whole water issue needs to be looked at. Pipes need safety standards, water boiler need safety standards and need to be regularly checked. And sold water needs safety standards so that the manufacturing companies dont leave the water sitting outside to boil and become toxic and cancerous.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:20

I don't think the quality of the water is the same all over the UAE, in some places maybe safe, other places maybe not. Either way, wherever I was in the world I would never drink tap water, bottled drinking water is accessible everywhere, why jeopardise our health?
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:16

The tap water might be fine however are the landlords/bldg maintenance companies going to be cleaning the tanks regularly. I doubt it. Infact if they do so they might just hand over another bill to the tenants for clening the tanks which might be more expensive than buying a bottle of water. Worth a thought....
Sanjeev Bhojwani
Posted: July 30, 2009, 15:02

Yes, We in Al Ain used to drink tap water of course after filtering it during early nineties but at that time it was ground water and not desalinated as it is now, as there is a misconception that desalinated water can cause kidney stones but if independent agencies test and verify that it is safe to drink I think lot of people will start drinking it.
Ejaz Ahmad
Al Ain,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 11:09

My family have been using tap water in Dubai and previously in Oman. We do live in a villa, and have asked that the tanks are cleaned once a year. It is not easy to do, as the maintenance company does not want to do it, nor the landlord, but we persist. Tap water is fine here, as long as the tanks are clean. Adding a water filter should help in thoery.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 11:09

If 2 or 3 independent labs, including one overseas were to test the tap water in various places througout the city and came back with results comparable to that of bottled water then I would consider it. Contaminants in tap water do not come only from the source of the water (the municipality) they come from the underground pipes between the source and the use. We also have to consider the quality of the water structure within each building. Old building means old and sometimes rusty or delapidated pipes that may have been contaminated. Judging from some of the poor quality construction methods used in many buildings (my own building included) does not engender trust in the quality of the water coming from the tap. With no administrative structure to certify a building's water is safe, I'll stick to bottled water.
Donald Glass
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:49

I have lived in Dubai for 8 years and its only been in the last 6 months I have stopped buying bottled water and have been drinking Dubai tap water. Coming from the UK we are used to it but the custom in Dubai is to buy bottled water as it is seen as safe and the norm but realistically water left in plastic bottles in high temperatures outside can actually cause us more harm than good. Myself, my husband and my 16 month old daughter have been drinking tap water and we are fine. We fill up our own bottles directly form the tap and stock up the fridge. Its cheaper and at least I have piece of mind that no plastic toxins have accumulated in the bottle in the last 24 hrs or so. Water delivered to shops from warehouses sit in the soaring Dubai heat and us customers are unaware of the effects. Secondly we're not throwing away mountains of plastic bottles away weekly. I would recommend everyone should try it. Just remember we are lucky that we have tap water at hand otherwise we could still be walking miles for just a few liters a day, just as they are still in many countries around the world today!
From A Reader
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:33

But the water in the flats doesnt come from direct supply and due to the dirty water tank it is not possible to drink it driectly. But it is a very good news and other gulf country should learn many thing from Dubai.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:33

Is it possible to confirm whether the emirates like Ajman, Ras Al Khaimah, Fuj..tap water is safe.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:28

I too drink tap water. It tastes good and saves money!
Radhika Sagar
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:28

tap water must be better than bottled water if there is assurance from the concerning authority that the water tanks of the each and every building is hegenic and cleaned properly on time and moniterd periodically. 100% there is no substitute for tap water
Siraj Al Deen
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:26

Since iam in dubai Iam drinking bottle water..just 2 months back as i could not find bottled water i used tap water then i realised that there is no differnet in taste it is the same and stop buying bottle water
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:26

I would never drink tapwater,because every week my bath/shower has to be cleaned of brown stains,taste salty and the water is also bad for your hair (fall out),so why should it be safe to drink?I keep my bottled water for sure!!
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:22

I am really confused with the issue of tap water drinking. To my knowledge the quality of tap water available at different emirates are different at least, in taste. When I go towards the north the quality becomes poor and can't even taste due to high salt or chlorides. The news, which gives confidence to drink tap water will definitely help the bottle water producers to refill their empty bottles with tap water, presumably this will give doubt on any water bottles and people tend to use tap water for drinking slowly and steadily.When there is enough money we tend to spend it on anything, for that matter if breathing air is available in bottles saying purity and pollution free people still buy those cans too.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:16

I drink tap water - when it is filtered properly, I also encourage others to drink this way whenever I see someone is only depended on bottled water.
Kazi Shahid Al Islam
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:14

Then why does it smell like a swimming pool? I wouldn't drink it!!!
Scott Richards
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:13

I will not drink tap water, the water might be safe when released from the source, but who knows in what situation it reaches us while passing through underground pipes which might not be safe?
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:12

I agree Syed Mansour's comment: fitting a filter on the tap will remove any possible contaminants from dirty pipes or storage tanks, or any remaining saltiness from the water. Alternatively one could purchase a jug with a filtration system. Such devices are common in the UK and Ireland where water is certainly safe to drink from the taps. People in this country should consider themselves lucky they do not have to walk miles to collect at best murky water to drink from a remote well!
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:12

I don't even give my cat tap water, it made him sick on more than one occasion so I definitely wouldn't drink it!
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:10

I was not aware of the fact that tap water was safe for drinking. Now that i know it, I will definitely go for it. I guess there should be more awareness to encourage the public to use it. The most obvious and astonishing fact is that most bottling plants make use of this water directly! Then why can't it be used by us directly?
Rashid Abdullah
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:10

The water may be safe, but the distrubition system is not.
Bill Jamieson
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:06

I have recently seen one demonstration from a water filter company that the tap water and bottle water are not safe to drink, when tested lot of dust particle were visible, but with their filter it is quite safe -As we know that here water contains lot of clorine and bottle water some preservatives. It was said that tap water is better, but not the bottle water. Please clarify if this filter is ok or money making business.
Rosario Soares
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:04

As long as a kettle is available I would always prefer to use TAP WATER. Boil and use. Infact Tap Waters are better than the bottled ones. The bottled companies do say that it is mineral but do we all know where exactly it is coming from?Save money and resources that's all i have to say. I am really concerned about the environment.SAVE IT FOR YOUR CHILDREN.
Tariq Azad
Posted: July 30, 2009, 10:01

we also would like to save the natural water resources in UAE and conserve it. But the question is we do agree the water is desalinated and then supplied to all homes but are tanks in the bldgs safe
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:59

I agree that tap water is safe to drink.But what about storage tanks in the buildings which are not clean at all. After all water diribution to the flats from these dirty tanks.Is this water safe to drink? Is muncipality taking any action to keep these taks clean???
Lionel Colaco
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:56

The government must inform the public of the chemical composition of tap water,to find out if the "salinity" level is safe for human consumption.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:56

Tap waters are safer to drink-a well developed systematic countries always insist this including singapore,U.A.E,But in my opinion always residence should install water purifier before drinking it.As the overhead tank in most of the buildings are not clean up to the level, hence it will create a health problem in later life
Halif Al Deen
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:41

This is a good move as there are so many advantages.1, Saves Environment as less use of plastic saves energy used for botteling
Preyus Macwan
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:40

Sure . Why not ! If there is a guarantee that the tap running water is safe for drinking then we can save alot of money and resources .
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:35

I am drinking tap water, but i would like to inform you that i have a water filter in my flat, whenever i change its filter it becomes brown within few days because of too much dust in the water.please guide us for this also thanks.
Omar Khalil
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:35

I always thought the water that we get in our homes was treated water and not 100% fit for consumption(it does sometimes have a faint smell of chlorine in them); and i have been here in the UAE for well over 25 years. I just recently shifted to Sharjah and caught a bout of fever when i accidently drank tap water filled in a bottle @ home.
Jimmy Thomas
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:35

Yes ..i do drink tap water,but i install a purifier to elimitae the contain impurities such as chlorine,rust,etc...
Milagros Miles M. Kazmi.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:33

The problem is not so much the water. It's pefectly fine.It's the piping systems and water storage in old houses/flats that can cause contamination of the water and make it unfit to drink, which is why I only drink it after it's been boiled.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:27

Tap water is good to drink. But the problem is the water tanks in the buildings. How many bulding are cleaning the water tank as per the requirement?If the tanks are properly maintained there is nothing to worry about the tap water.
Gopimohan Krishnan Nair
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:23

being a uae resident i was living diferent places in uae, tap water in every location are not safe,in dubai tap water is good ever for drinking,some part of sharjah also same esp , but now i have moved to muwailah area(near national paints)tap water is realy bad here so i am forced to use bottled water almost 25 big bottle a month even for cooking and for children, other wise skin will get marks from hard tap water.i have chekced with other building also, and its almost same hard water they r getting in tap water
Posted: July 30, 2009, 09:22

We (my family) have been drinking tap water for the last 8 months. I have installed a water purifier directly to the tap and we get purest water better than the bottled water. It is safe as well and economically viable. bottled water, I always felt, was not safe because of the plastic containers, the way they are stored in extreme temperatures, exposed to heat. I do carry water from home for my use in office. And of course I am feeling healthier as well.
Syed Mansour
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:56

To be honest, I'm sure, that the water is in a very good quality before it will be loaded onto trucks. But one serious issue is, that the trucks are in a very bad condition, and then sometimes, I see some watertrucks, there is still some advertisement from an Oil transporting company on it. To be honest, i don't want to drink water, which is transported with a truck, which previously transported oil. The next issue is at the buildings. The water will be stored in tanks for some time, sometimes, the water comes quite warm out of the pipes, although, I have chosen the coldwater pipe. And this will seriously cause growing of bacteries. Once these problems are solved, it will be safe, to drink the tap water at home.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:55

The tap water being supplied by the authorities may be pure and safe to drink. But the water is stored building's storage tanks and pumped up to overhead tanks, from time to time. But these tanks are very rarely cleaned and disinfected, if not done at all. When residents are aware of this problem, they are less inclined to drink tap water.
KV Rajan
Sharjah/Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:53

I fully agree that tap water is completely safe. But it happens that when apartment occupants water consumption is sparse spanning hours or days(especially in the kitchen), the stagnant water in the pipeline causes apprehension (which comes with pipe rust
Sunil Kumar
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:52

Bottled water was not part of my growing up years because it was not introduce yet at that time. I used to drink on our tap water and even on our deep well using pump. Yet, I did not get sick. If really nature calls out, I will return back to tap water
Dexter Dalisay
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:52

as we recieving the salty water from the municipality, then i think its not at all a safe from drinking, then we have to purchase the bottled water from outside, as there are lots of refilling centres across ajman, i dont know that are safe or what?
Sohail Ali
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:44

We have been using tap water for drinking
Jemy Boben
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:44

Agreed water is de-salinated and is pure during production. This is however stored in the building water tanks before it flows down our taps. Does anyone guarantee the cleanliness of the water in our over head tanks?
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:44

If I am sure that tap water in Fujairah is completely safe to drink then there should be an awarness created amoung the residents.As I was born and brought up in Fujairah,I remember that when I was young my family used to consume tap water but as I grew up my family shifted to bottled water for health concerns.
Madeeha Saeed
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:43

Its really great, also we can control our cost by purchasing bottle water.But is the Tap water is heavy/harder than bottle water ??Or do we want to boil the water before drinking?
Asif Moidutty
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:41

Tap water is safe to drink here in UAE as long as the storage tank is clean and free from possible contaminants. The quality of water produce and supply by the concerned department is sure drinkable but my advice is to check also the storage of this water.
Mel sinag
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:40

No, never, I don't see myself ever drinking tap whater here in the UAE. Sometimes I even have doubts about washing my hair with it, all that salt does more harm than good. I also don't trust the plumbing. I always wonder how dirty those pipes are.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:39

I think if Authorities install direct line of water tap from filter water plant to each building and if possible at each house. In this way there will be no storage point and people can use that water for drinking because they know its directly coming from water filter plant. It will increase their confidence to use tap water.
Javed Hussain Khan
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:37

I like to drink tap water rather than bottled water, there is really misconception among the people that Bottled water is always right water or precautionary it is better. "NO" because nature has given all the necessary minerals and quality elements in particular water specified for living creatures where they are living. UAE water no doubt is hot in home tubes but safe to drink/cook/wash.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:36

The country people are ready to drink tap water. But the storage of water in the building is in Question. Most of the buildings in UAE does not maintain their water tank storage in hygenic condition and no one clean or protect from sunlight (ver very hot during summer), which might lead to health problems. Please address this problem in media.
Abdul Rajak
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:08

I agree with this and we have been drinking tap water ever since we came to live here in UAE almost 15 years now. Some people are of the belief that big bottled water is mineral water and they do not realise that it is the same water which is re-purified and sold in a bottle.
Shabir Zain Al Deen
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 08:06

the water may be ok to drink at the plant, but having seen the insides of my buildings water tank and some of the supply network pipes, i don't even use it for cooking - the infrastructure maintenance is non existent.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 07:42

The Government must send this message in all Electricity and water bills throughout the Emirates to spread awareness among people.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 07:36

I would definitely drink tap water as long as I get the assurance from the Authorities that it is safe for consumption.
Abu Dhabi,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 07:36

We have been living here in Dubai for 12 years now and we have been consuming bottled water since then. for me tap water is not safe especially here in our place al shaab colony.we use filter and you can see how rusty the water is. water from the tap is brownish in colour maybe because the water pipes are rusty as I believe that our building has been here for more than 20 years so I presume that pipelines are rusty.and once in a blue did they clean the water could we rely on situation like this especially that I have kids.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 06:46

I am an employee of a prestigious drinking water company. Awareness should be given to people that the companies are also using the same desalinated water to fill in the bottles. Good fileters are available in the market and I would receommend people to filter and use tap water for drinking instead of bottled water.
Al Ain,UAE
Posted: July 30, 2009, 06:06

I have always considered tap water here to be safe. If we wash our vegetables and meat with tap water and also wash our mouthds with the same, it's as good as consuming it.
Posted: July 30, 2009, 04:47

I always drink tap water. However it is the cooled water in the kettle which then I transfer into bottles. I know Dubai water is very high in quality and purity, even I believe they add floride to it!!
Posted: July 30, 2009, 03:42

I alway drink tap water at home. Though I confess I am often suspicious about how it is stored in our building I have nonetheless never been affected by it in any way. Have been drinking it since I moved here in 2005.
Martin Thomas
Posted: July 30, 2009, 00:22