I imagine anyone traveling or moving to India will wonder about the water. Is it safe to shower? Can you brush your teeth and rinse with tap water? What are the choices in drinking water?
I’m sure most are informed enough to avoid drinking tap water when traveling. In India, many people do not have access to good quality water and there is great need for improvement in the system for water supply, sanitation and hygiene throughout the country. As a result, water borne diseases such as typhoid and cholera still exist. So be cautious when it comes to the drinking water and think twice when ordering ice in your beverage at a restaurant.
That said, in the 4 years of living in Delhi I personally have had no health issues (touch wood!) with using tap water to shower, wash hair and brush teeth. However, I do avoid drinking water from tap at home and use filtered water for cooking. I believe the hygiene protocol has greatly evolved in India and these days, most restaurants offer the choice of a glass of “regular water” which I assume is filtered, or a bottle of filtered or mineral water.
Keeping hydrated is key in Delhi, especially during the very hot summer months. I would suggest the safest and most eco-friendly would be to carry drinking water in a tumbler but you can also find bottled water at local markets throughout Delhi.
The following are some options for drinking and cooking water available in India.
RO Water Purifier: RO stands for Reverse Osmosis. This is a water purification process that uses a filter to remove ions and unwanted molecules from drinking water. RO Water purifiers are most popular in India and there is a wide range of purifiers with accommodating prices. It is cost-effective but the filter has to be changed frequently.
Filtered Water :
Kinley, Bisleri, Aquafina are the most popular brands of packaged drinking water. Local markets sell bottled water in cases as well as 20L water jars that fit into water dispensers. Investing in a water dispenser or pump may be the more eco-friendly choice but be aware that water jars will require a deposit. Make sure to check with your local water supplier.
Mineral Water & Sparkling :
There are several brands of mineral water available in Delhi. There are various domestic brands and imported brands such as Evian and Perrier Sparkling water are sold at high end supermarkets (Le Marche, Foodhall). Note that imported water, like everything imported into India, are sold at higher prices.