Which Countries Have the Best Tap Water in The World?
Are you a person that travels a lot for business or pleasure?
If you are, then have you ever wondered how safe the drinking water is in the countries that you visit.
It’s fairly simple for water treatment plants in most countries to get water to look clear and appealing but making water 100% safe to drink is much more complicated.
That’s why I thought it would be interesting to do an article on which countries have the best rated tap water in the world.
That way if you visit the countries on the best tap water list, you can be confident when drinking the water there. If you are in a country that did not make this list, you might want to take steps to ensure that you have plenty of quality drinking water on hand.
I will even tell you how to do the latter without spending a fortune on and lugging around a cumbersome supply of bottled water.
This is important because many countries do not have the best water in the world to drink.
List Of 10 Countries with Best Tap Water Quality in World
It should not come as a surprise that Switzerland is our top pick for the country with the best water in the world. That’s because its mountains reach high above the layers where most air pollution can get to and the runoff from these mountains has many layers of rocky soil that naturally filter it.
This, combined with the fact that Switzerland is a very lightly populated country, only slightly industrialized, and a country that prides itself on having very strict water quality treatment procedures leads to some of the purest and best water in the world.
Much of the tap water in Switzerland comes from many of the country’s crystal-clear freshwater lakes, streams, and natural springs that almost don’t need any treatment to begin with. Those are natural groundwater conditions that you will find in few places around the world.
It’s no wonder this country tops our list of those with the best quality tap water.
Here is another country with quality water that is almost unfair to put on our list because of its isolated location and very small population. Those are ideal and pollution-free conditions that are a great first step to being second on the list of having the best water in the world.
It also helps that many of the sources that supply its citizens with drinkable tap water comes from picturesque and clean glacial ice that feeds the many lakes and rivers that lie in remote locations around the countryside that are virtually untouched by humans.
The vast majority of the water sources in this country do not even need to be treated but those that do are done in a chlorine-free manner using mostly UV light disinfection water quality treatments.
When you drink the tap water in Iceland, you will no doubt be drinking some of the best quality tap water on the planet.
The quality of the tap water in Sweden is bolstered by the fact that it takes pride in being one of the most eco-friendly countries in the world. Part of that is having an aversion to using disposable plastic products such as the bottles that are necessary to put store-bought water in.
That has resulted in the country making a huge investment in its tap water treatment facilities. Something that has resulted in Sweden using some of the most sophisticated water treatment technologies to clean up the water that its cities supply its citizens.
The people who live in the country rave about the taste of their drinking water and its quality is ensured by frequent testing and rigid testing standards. Swedish citizens routinely enjoy some of the best quality tap water that can be found anywhere.
This is another country that is blessed with having many natural and almost untouched freshwater sources.
Even with those pristine water sources, it was not always the case that clean tap water was delivered to the people of Norway but that changed dramatically since 2001 when the Norwegian Institute of Public Health imposed stricter water standards.
Now 90% of Norway’s citizens attain their tap water from treatment facilities that are strictly monitored and controlled by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. This water quality treatment system includes over 1500 modern water treatment plants.
5. New Zealand
This is a country that seems to be overlooked on many of the lists of countries with the best drinking water and I am not sure why. It’s a fairly isolated country that has a smaller population and an abundance of near pollution-free water sources.
This includes many of the country’s natural lakes and streams that are fed and filtered by the peaks of its mountainous countryside.
A 2015-2016 Annual Drinking Water Report also showed that 97.6% of the drinking water in this country met strict bacteriological standards and an impressive 98.4% of stated chemical standards.
Austria is on this list for the same reasons that its neighbor Switzerland is. It too is fed by fresh and naturally filtered water supplies that originate high up in the pollution-free areas of the Alps. So, the country’s tap water supply has the advantage of already being of high quality to begin with.
Since it needs little purification, Austria has one of the most naturally pure city-supplied water systems that can be found in the world. The country even goes to great lengths to use chemical-free water treatment methods such as ozonation and UV light disinfection.
Just how clean do the citizens of the country think their tap water supply is? Many of them shun purchasing bottled water when out and about and instead prefer to drink tap water from one of the many street fountains which are found in their cities.
While researching this article, I could not find one list of the countries that are known for having the best tap water in the world that did not include Denmark. This is not surprising coming from a low-lying country that has had water issues that date back thousands of years.
Fortunately, the country sources the drinking water it supplies to its citizens from aquifers that lay deep underground. It also helps that the Danish tap water that ends up in these aquifers is naturally filtered by many layers of fine sand.
It also doesn’t hurt that the groundwater sources in the country are strictly protected and it’s a rich country that has the necessary resources to invest heavily in state-of-the-art drinking water treatment facilities.
Here is another country that is omitted from many international tap water quality lists but I refuse to overlook it. That’s because once again it’s a country with many untouched mountainous areas that feed the country’s many natural and nearly pollution-free water sources.
This combined with the country’s strict tap water quality measures tends to produce tap water with very few contaminants that is more pure than mineral water. What are some of these strict water quality measures?
How about Ottawa testing its water supply over 125,000 times last year and Toronto requiring that all city water supplies get tested every 4 to 6 hours. For me, adding Canada to this list was an easy decision as I am sure it would be for the people there that drink the water every day.
9. The Netherlands
Just like Denmark, The Netherlands is another low-lying country that has had to coexist with many of its land areas being flooded regularly throughout the centuries. This has given the country a leg up on other countries when it comes to tap water management and that includes its extensive water purification expertise.
While I am not sure I would do as the natives boast and trust that the water is so clean in their canals that you can drink from it, with the country’s strict water quality standards and high-end water treatment facilities I would not hesitate to drink its water out of the tap.
You can also rest assured that the high quality drinking water that you obtain from tap sources in The Netherlands is free from chlorine and fluoride and the country has a reputation for taking great pride in the quality of its drinking water. When you visit there expect nothing but the best quality tap water.
10. The United Kingdom
Many of the countries on this list of those with the best drinking water have the advantage of having large areas of land with remote water sources that are virtually untouched by man. That’s most definitely not the case with the United Kingdom. So how did they make it onto this list?
It all starts with their high average rainfall which supplies an abundance of freshwater and this is followed up by some of the most strictly monitored and advanced water treatment facilities in the world.
This has helped such places in the country as the northern territory of Scotland become well-known for the quality of its fresh drinking water. The UK is a country that worked very long and hard to establish it as a country with the best quality tap water.
How Do Countries Determine Water Quality?
Just like in the USA, most countries around the world determine the quality of their water by lab testing it. It’s these testing standards that are used for all of the water in the world.
It’s the only sure way to tell how pure the water is from a municipal water source because many of the most harmful tap water contaminants are odorless, tasteless, and colorless.
Many of these testing standards are developed by recognized health authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) who are dedicated to bringing people perfectly safe drinking water and protecting water quality.
These lab tests suggested by the World Health Organization look for such harmful impurities in the water in the world as:
- Chemicals such as cyanide
- Bacteria such as fecal coliform
- Trace metals such as chromium and lead
- Metalloids such as arsenic
- Organic chemicals that are used to make fertilizer, pesticides, and more
- Petroleum derivatives such as benzene
- And more!
All this to go along with determining the pH, hardness, total dissolved solids (salts), and aesthetic qualities of a water supply.
What to Do When Traveling in A Country with Poor Tap Water Quality?
My recommendation when you are traveling in a country where you don’t trust the water or in any country where you are unsure of its water quality standards is to either buy bottled water or to enhance the quality of the water that you drink with a good portable water filter.
The latter is better than buying bottled water because it will save you a lot of money and keep you from having to take somewhat expensive, heavy, and bulky bottles of water with you everywhere that you visit in a country.
Something that can take away some of the joy while on a holiday or add inconvenience to what may already be a stressful business trip. Sad to say this is necessary because more water in the world is of poor quality than good.
Do portable water filters really work? The answer to that question is yes. Maybe they are not on par with a good home reverse osmosis water filtration system, but they work better than most people would expect.
For example, if you chose our #1 choice on our best portable filters list, the ‘Sawyer Products MINI Water Filtration System’, you would be choosing a filtration device that is highly portable at 4 x 3 x 8 inches, weighs less than 4-ounces, treats 100,000 gallons of drinking water, and filters out bacteria, protozoa, and many other harmful water impurities.
That’s a powerful and highly portable water purification tool that will give you more confidence in the quality of the water that you drink as you travel abroad and ensure that you have the purest drinking water possible in a travel setting.
Summing up My Thoughts on Foreign Travel and Drinking Water
When it comes to the water that you drink no matter where you are in the world, it’s better to be safe than sorry. That’s why I would avoid drinking the water in any country where I was not 100% sure that the tap water there is 100% safe to drink.
That’s something that you will most likely never know if you do not have the tap water tested in any country that you visit.
By drinking bottled water or quickly filtering the water in a foreign country yourself, you will then be able to rest assured that the water that you are drinking is relatively safe.
By using your own portable water filter to improve your drinking water quality while traveling in a foreign country, you will also be producing enhanced water for just pennies on the gallon.
So be proactive when traveling abroad and take steps to ensure that you are drinking the healthiest water possible.