Is it safe to drink tap water in Istanbul?

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Matthew Hillier

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One of the first questions we had when we arrived in Istanbul was - can we drink the water without getting sick? If you're a visitor to the city I'm sure you're asking the same thing.

Upon research we realised that tap water has historically been a challenge due to the city's location between two seas, and the aging infrastructure of the city's water supply system.

But the good news is that the government has implemented new regulations and standards to ensure that tap water is safe for consumption.

Key takeaways

  • Tap water is generally safe to drink in Istanbul.
  • Improvements in regulations and tap water treatment processes in recent years have made it safe to drink tap water in Istanbul.
  • The tap water may not be to your taste, so bottled water is always the best alternative.

Water quality in Istanbul

While Istanbul's tap water is safe to drink, we should note that the taste and odor of the water may vary depending on the season and the area of the city. This is due to the fact that Istanbul's water supply comes from different sources, including reservoirs, rivers, and underground wells.

The Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration (ISKI) is responsible for the treatment and distribution of tap water in the city, and they adhere to strict government regulations to ensure that the water is safe to drink.

They are responsible for ensuring that the water supply meets the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Turkish regulations.

The tap water treatment process in Istanbul includes several stages, including filtration, disinfection, and distribution. 

According to the latest available data, the tap water in Istanbul meets the WHO's guidelines for drinking water quality. The water is regularly tested for microbiological, chemical, and physical parameters to ensure its safety. 

The results of these tests are publicly available on ISKI's website.

Bottled water vs. tap water

If you have concerns or prefer the taste of bottled water, it's always a good option.

Bottled water is widely available, very cheap and convenient. If your only staying in Istanbul for a short stay bottled water is the safest option.

Plastic waste from bottled water can be a significant environmental concern. In recent years, there has been a push to reduce plastic waste in Istanbul, and choosing tap water over bottled water can be one way to help.

The taste of tap water in Istanbul can vary depending on the neighborhood. Some areas may have harder water with a higher mineral content, which can affect the taste. However, this does not necessarily mean that the water is unsafe to drink.

Alternatives to tap water

Here are some alternatives to drinking tap water:

Bottled water

Bottled water is widely available in Istanbul and can be purchased from supermarkets, convenience stores, and street vendors.

Filtered water

Many homes and businesses in Istanbul use water filtration systems to remove impurities from tap water. These systems can be installed under the sink or attached to the faucet. They are an effective way to improve the taste and quality of tap water.

Helpful tip

We use one of those basic water filter pitchers by Brita, we replace the internal filter every month. It is a simple way for us to ensure our tap water is clean and tastes okay.

Boiled water

Boiling tap water is an effective way to kill bacteria and other microorganisms. It is important to boil the water for at least one minute and let it cool before drinking.

Other beverages

Istanbul has a wide variety of beverages available, including tea, coffee, fruit juices, and soft drinks. These can be good alternatives to tap water for people who prefer a different taste or want to avoid drinking water altogether.

Frequently asked questions

Is it safe to drink tap water in Istanbul?

Yes, it is safe to drink tap water in Istanbul. The water is regularly tested and treated to ensure it meets the required standards for safe drinking water.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Turkey?

Yes, it is safe to brush your teeth with tap water in Turkey. The water is treated and safe for consumption.

What is the quality of Istanbul's water supply?

The quality of Istanbul's water supply is generally good. The water undergoes treatment and testing to ensure it meets the required standards for safe drinking water.

Can you drink tap water in other parts of Turkey like Izmir and Antalya?

Yes, it is generally safe to drink tap water in other parts of Turkey like Marmaris and Antalya. However, it is always good to check with locals to confirm what the normal practice is when it comes to drinking tap water.

Where can you find the best drinking water in Turkey?

There are many sources of safe and clean drinking water in Turkey. Some options include bottled water, filtered water, and natural spring water. 

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