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Tap Water: In Which Countries Is It Safe to Drink?

Editorial Team

Drinking tap water is a matter of convenience and environmental sustainability, but its safety varies significantly around the world. This is due to differences in water treatment, infrastructure, and local environmental factors. Here’s an overview of where tap water is considered safe to drink and some considerations on its safety.

Countries with Safe Tap Water

North America

  • United States: Generally safe, with EPA regulations ensuring water quality, though it can vary by location.
  • Canada: High-quality tap water, especially in major cities, due to strict national guidelines.


  • Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland): Some of the cleanest tap water due to excellent water treatment and natural sources.
  • United Kingdom: Safe tap water across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, with regular checks.
  • Germany, France, and Switzerland: Known for high standards of water treatment and safety testing.


  • Australia and New Zealand: Rigorous standards ensure tap water safety almost everywhere.

Considerations and Exceptions

Even in countries with generally safe tap water, there can be exceptions, especially in rural or isolated areas. It’s important to be aware of local advisories, especially after natural disasters or in areas of industrial contamination.

Tips for Ensuring Tap Water Safety

  • Check Local Advisories: Look for local health advisories or recommendations.
  • Use a Water Filter: Filters can remove potential contaminants if you’re unsure about water safety.
  • Boil Water if Necessary: Boiling water for at least one minute can kill most pathogens in questionable areas.

When to Avoid Tap Water

In many parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, tap water may not be safe due to inadequate treatment and contamination risks. Opt for bottled water or treat water before consumption in these regions.


The safety of tap water varies globally, but many developed countries offer safe tap water thanks to advanced treatment processes and strict regulatory standards. Always consider local conditions and advisories, and opt for filtered or bottled water to ensure safety when in doubt.