Can You Drink Tap Water in Dubai?

Hi, I’m Jason the water guy. Water is the most abundant and most important compound in the world. And you get a lot of fluff out there from people trying to sell their products. So I’m here to give my experienced opinion about what is good and what is not when you choose your best drinking water.
The below article is great because it points out a common issue for homeowners around the world, contamination of their tap water by PFAS forever chemicals. Make sure you check with your local health authority for any common water issues, get your water tested regularly, and use proper treatment if necessary.
Moreover, if you have PFAS forever chemical byproducts in your tap water, in addition to treating your water using a good carbon filter, you should probably also change your drinking water. To be extra safe and get all the trace elements and compounds from your drinking water, order bottled natural spring water / natural mineral water.

Dubai, one of the most visited cities in the world, is renowned for its futuristic architecture, luxurious shopping malls, and extravagant lifestyle. But a common question that arises amongst tourists and expats alike is, “Can you drink tap water in Dubai?” This article delves into the quality of tap water in Dubai, the possible risks, and the best alternatives for drinking water. We will also look at diverse perspectives and relevant statistics to provide a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Dubai Tap Water: What You Need to Know

Source of Tap Water in Dubai

Dubai’s tap water is primarily sourced from desalinated seawater, which involves the removal of salt and other impurities to make it safe for consumption. The city relies heavily on this process due to its arid climate and limited freshwater resources. According to the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), approximately 98.8% of Dubai’s water supply comes from desalination, while the remaining 1.2% comes from underground wells.

Water Quality Standards and Regulations

The UAE government imposes strict regulations and standards for water quality, ensuring that the tap water is safe for human consumption. The UAE Federal Law No. 2 mandates regular monitoring and testing of water supply systems, as well as compliance with guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Tap Water Taste and Smell

Although Dubai’s tap water is considered safe to drink, many people report an unpleasant taste or smell, which can be attributed to the high levels of chlorine used in the water treatment process. Chlorine is added to disinfect the water, but its presence may make the water taste and smell like swimming pool water.

Potential Risks and Concerns

Contamination in Water Storage Tanks

One of the primary concerns regarding the safety of tap water in Dubai is the potential for contamination in water storage tanks. Buildings in Dubai are required to have water storage tanks, which can become breeding grounds for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms if not regularly cleaned and maintained. Consequently, even though the water may be safe when it leaves the treatment plant, contamination can occur within the building’s water storage system.

Aging Infrastructure

Another factor that can impact the quality of tap water in Dubai is the aging infrastructure. Over time, pipes and other water distribution systems can corrode, potentially introducing contaminants such as rust and heavy metals into the water supply. This issue is more prevalent in older buildings and neighborhoods.

Fluoride Levels in Tap Water

Dubai’s tap water contains fluoride, a mineral that can help prevent tooth decay. However, excessive fluoride consumption can lead to dental and skeletal fluorosis. While the levels of fluoride in Dubai’s tap water are within the acceptable range recommended by the WHO, some people may be concerned about the potential health risks associated with fluoride exposure.

Alternatives to Drinking Tap Water in Dubai

Bottled Water

The most popular alternative to drinking tap water in Dubai is bottled water, which is widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants. It comes in various sizes and brands, both local and international. Bottled water is perceived as a safer and more convenient option, although it may not always be more environmentally friendly or cost-effective.  Bottled water comes in two forms.  The first, labeled “bottled drinking water” on the label is occasionally from the same source as tap water, but there are no disinfectants added to the bottled water, making it a more clean taste.  The second form of bottled water labeled “natural mineral water” is very different from the tap water as its mineral content is unchanged from its composition made during its journey through the earth.

Water Filters and Purifiers

Another option for those concerned about the quality of tap water in Dubai is to use water filters and purifiers. These devices can remove impurities such as chlorine, heavy metals, and bacteria, improving the taste and safety of the water. There are various types of filters available, including activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis systems, and ultraviolet (UV) purifiers.  It would be odd to have to use reverse osmosis on tap water that already went through reverse osmosis during desalination.  If the tap water is so bad to require RO, it could be better to drink bottled water.

Water Delivery Services

Water delivery services are also popular in Dubai, providing a convenient way to access clean drinking water without having to carry heavy bottles from the store. These services typically offer different types of water, such as mineral, spring, and purified water, in various sizes and quantities to cater to individual preferences and needs.

In Conclusion: Can You Drink Tap Water in Dubai?

While tap water in Dubai is technically safe to drink, concerns about contamination in storage tanks, aging infrastructure, and the taste and smell of the water may prompt many people to seek alternatives. Bottled water, water filters and purifiers, and water delivery services are popular options for ensuring access to clean and safe drinking water in the city. As a visitor or resident in Dubai, it is essential to be aware of these options and make informed decisions about your drinking water sources.


  1. Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA)
  2. UAE Federal Law No. 2
  3. World Health Organization (WHO)