Can we safely drink the water in Spain? Thank you.
We just spent a week in Sevilla. My husband drank tap water with no problem. The water did leave a a light film on the glass. I, on the other hand, only drank bottled water. But then, I only drink bottled water where ever we go.
Where, it's a big country?
Spain is not a third world country and there is drinking water quality legislation. I doubt you are going anywhere outside a city or tourist route where it will be a concern. What may upset is the difference in make up or taste to what you are used.
Indeed Neil, you can safely drink tap water anywhere in Spain since, as you rightly point out, there's been a very strict legislation in place for many decades regulating this. Something else is whether one's used to the taste since in certain parts of the country the water has more calcium than in others.
Yes, this is a modern EU country with plenty of regulations and water safety legislation. It's not Mexico, despite the shared language. I find the water tastes just fine, but some people don't like the taste of water in places they aren't used to (different treatments and sources do cause taste differences). Just like here there could be somewhere with faulty pipes, so if it seems bad, don't drink it. Same as in the US - drink unless it seems suspicious, which I've never had happen.
In restaurants, it can be difficult to get them to bring you tap water, but if you can get it it's fine to drink. If not, buy bottled at the restaurant but drink tap in your hotel and other places. Agua del Grifo is the term for tap water.
... in Spain, in public establishments it's been illegal to serve tap water for many years -and soon any other bulk product, as the EU Commission is pushing legislation towards forcing bars and restaurants to serve only bottled liquids, as in wine or oil for example. "Bottled" as in opening a new one for each customer. In restaurants for example is common practice to use "oil bottles" (as in http://profesionalhoreca.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/02G51511.gif) which are refilled as needed, that might soon be not allowed.
hhhmmmm ... but do they have electricity and flushing toilets?
I've drunk the tap water all over Spain since my first visit in 1986. In Bergen County, NJ, we don't drink the certified safe water because of the Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether and lead that exceed the legal limits-not to mention the taste. Bon appetit!
Your question is an FAQ. Just because Europeans have been brought up to order bottled water does not mean anything is wrong with the tap water. In New York City, the Masters Of the Universe have been brought up to order the most expensive bottle on the "Water Menu". But NYC has some of the best municipal water in the entire United States.
Enric, that's very interesting. I did not know it was illegal to serve tap water in a restaurant. Sometimes I ask for it, and sometimes they will provide it. I hate to think I've been asking places to break the law! I just prefer tap water when I can for the environmental impact - less bottles used, less waste, less shipping - carbon footprint, etc. In the US in some places there is a move against bottled water for this reason, and some eco-friendly restaurants will not serve bottled water. These little differences are so interesting.
EU standards for bottled water are effectively the same as tap water and the same as the US, so there is no health-based reason to do that. I doubt that restaurants are cooking and washing dishes with bottled water. I have heard of restaurants who don't serve tap water as a "policy" that try to pass it off as a gov't regulation.
Actually Mira, it certainly has been for many years (here in Catalonia)... yet I'd have to double-check if that prohibition is still in place or new regulations do allow it now. Furthermore, for certain matters Spain is a decentralized country so each, let's call them "state", can apply its own law and sometimes might differ from another "state". So you might find it could be perfectly all right to serve tap water in restaurants in Andalucia but not in Aragón -to name as an example.
To be frank, I seriously doubt that prohibition had anything to do with health -after all we've been recycling water for many decades!- but with the pressure of the powerful lobby of 'water producers'. That's why I'm saying it could have changed. At the end of the day many of us drink tap water at home, but it's rare to ask for it in a restaurant. I suppose it's a force of habit as it is (was?) prohibited to serve it to the customer :))
Would you ask the same of Italy or France or Germany etc...
Thank you all for your help. And DavidR, thank you for your rudeness....I happen to prescribe to the philosophy that there are no dumb questions, only dumb answers.