Residents of Dubai have long since debated the safety of tap water, with nearly 99% of it sourced from desalination plants, yet the subject of drinking water in Dubai is less objective than you might think. If you live in, or regularly visit Dubai, there are questions to which you should know the answer. If not, it’s time to take a closer look at your tap.
Naturally, safety is at the forefront of every tap water discussion. Contaminated drinking water can lead to waterborne illnesses that cause diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and fever at best. Parasitic, viral, and bacterial infections produce symptoms far more severe such as kidney failure, liver damage, and death. The Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Authorisation (ESMA) states that so long as water is supplied to consumers via a water distribution system (public or private), well, spring, or any source of surface water that complies with ESMA code, it is safe for human consumption. In fact, Discover Dubai reveals that “tests for bacteria in tap water are consistently less than 100 colony-forming units per millilitre (acceptable limit is 500), whilst most water dispensers have an average count of 200-300 CFUs/ml (if they are regularly serviced).” In short, the answer is yes; drinking water in Dubai is relatively safe, but only if all the lines, tanks are clear and not contaminated, which is a very rare case. The best way is to use a purifier in order to make sure that the water coming out of the tap is clean and free of contamination.
Despite the standards and regulations set forth by the UAE, the demand for bottled water is at an all-time high. Experts feel it may be attributed simply to generational gaps and little emphasis on the importance of utilizing natural resources. The truth is, tap water is acceptable for drinking, cooking, and bathing—in fact, the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) strives to educate the public about the misconceptions surrounding tap water. As long as water storage tanks are properly cleaned and maintained by consumers, they remain the preferred source of clean drinking water in Dubai. Combining your tap water with an under sink purifier or any others offered by So Safe, will give you the best and cost effective drinking water as compared to bottled or mineral water in Dubai.
For residents who feel they have little control over the quality of their water outside the home (for example in restaurants or apartments where it is impossible to know whether quality control measures are in place), water coolers are viable solutions and far less wasteful than buying hundreds of plastic bottles per year. Water filtration and purification systems like those offered by So-Safe are another option for improving taste and quality. On the opposite end of the spectrum, many people of Dubai simply designate tap water for bathing and cooking, and an alternate source for drinking. Others take it a step further and boil tap water to take extra precautions for their family members and pets, despite claims that drinking water in Dubai is indeed safe.
Though the desalination process consumes incredible amounts of energy, it remains Dubai’s most practical solution in the present day. As such, residents are urged to understand what’s in their tap and take comfort in knowing the water is safe. With over 2 million people in Dubai, it’s the least you can do to reduce your city’s “water footprint.”