Can you drink tap water in Dubai?

by Danni B

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is known for its luxurious lifestyle, beautiful beaches and stunning architecture. But when it comes to drinking water, many people wonder if they can safely drink tap water in Dubai.

Also, you may be wondering, where exactly does a desert like Dubai finds its water source? Continue reading to learn everything you’ve been curious about Dubai’s water.

I first moved to Dubai in 2013 (which by Dubai standards makes me an ‘old timer’), so I’ve heard all the rumours about Dubai water that expats have for many many years! I’ve even experienced some of the issues myself! So continue reading to find out exactly what issues I had!

Dubai drinking water in summary

The answer is yes! Drinking tap water in Dubai is safe, as long as you take certain precautions. Tap water in Dubai is regulated by the government authority called DEWA and meets all international standards for potable water, which is a fancy way of saying drinking water.

However, there are a few things that you should keep in mind when using tap water in Dubai:

  • Is the building I am staying in well maintained?
  • If in a villa, has the water tank been cleaned regularly?
  • Is a water filter fitted?

If the building you are staying in or living in isn’t well managed or you don’t take proper care of your villa water tank, bacteria and water-borne illnesses could seep into the water supply.

So while the tap water is safe, the pipes or water tanks can make the water unsafe to drink unless a water filter is installed.

Having a filter fitted adds an extra layer of protection to be safe, should anything happen to the water storage tanks. Along with removing the high level of calcium or other undesirable elements. Making them very popular in Dubai.

Can you drink tap water in Dubai hotels?

A hand holding a glass under a gold tap in a Dubai hotel

Yes! All hotels in Dubai are required by law to provide safe drinking water to their guests. The tap water is tested regularly for safety and meets all standards for potable drinking water. So, you can confidently drink the tap water in your hotel room without any worries of getting sick.

Can you drink tap water in Dubai airport?

Yes, it’s safe to drink the tap water in Dubai airport. All airports within the UAE must adhere to stringent safety regulations, which includes providing safe drinking water to passengers and staff. The tap water in Dubai airport is tested regularly.

Can you drink boiled tap water in Dubai?

A boiling pot of water on a stove, freshly boiled. In a kitchen of a hotel apartment in Dubai.

Yes, if you want to be extra safe while drinking tap water in Dubai, you can boil the tap water before consuming it. However, this step isn’t necessary if the accommodation you are staying in takes good care of their water systems.

Can I cook with Dubai tap water?

Yes, you can safely use Dubai tap water for cooking purposes. The tap water is safe to eat and meets all international standards for potable drinking water. However, if you want to be extra safe, it’s recommended that you boil the tap water before using it for cooking.

Should I buy a water filter in Dubai?

If you want to ensure that the tap water in Dubai is of the highest quality, then it’s recommended that you invest in a filtration system. Water filters can help reduce the presence of impurities, chlorine and other contaminants in the tap water. This will make it much safer for drinking and will also improve its taste.

💧 Compare water filters in Dubai here 💧

More information about Dubai Tap Water

If you’d like more information about Dubai tap water, continue reading below.

Is the myth of Dubai water causing hair loss true or false?

So it will firstly depend on a few factors, it will depend on what building you live in and where you’ve moved from. Some buildings have water filters installed to soften the water and if you’ve come from an area that has hard water already then you likely won’t notice such a difference.

The way Dubai processes water from the sea using desalination and Dubai’s water is classed as hard, meaning it has high levels of calcium in the water.

Hard water can indeed cause hair loss indirectly, by causing hair to dry out and break or for hair to have less volume according to studies. On top of this, hot weather also has an effect on the hair by drying it out and causing breakages.

Dubai long time resident / ‘old timer’ advice – My hairdresser advised me this, especially if you have finer western style hair. That is to make sure you wash your hair less than you do in your home country. You ideally want to wash your hair once a week or maximum twice a week since the heat is already drying the hair out and over washing will dry it out even further!

💧 Compare water filters for the shower in Dubai here 💧

What is the tap water source in Dubai and where does Dubai get its water?

Dubai gets its water from underground aquifers, desalination plants and surface water such as springs or dams. The tap water is then treated to ensure that it meets all standards for potable drinking water.

For more information, Fanack Water specialises in water information in the MENA region.

What does Dubai tap water taste like?

The tap water in Dubai is generally safe to drink, however, it may have a bland taste due to the low mineral content. It is also typically high in calcium which changes the taste. Water high in calcium creates a mildly bitter taste.

To make the tap water more palatable, you can use a filtration system to eliminate impurities or chlorine. Additionally, adding a few drops of lemon juice to the water can help improve its taste.

Why do so many expats drink bottled water in Dubai?

Two hands helping themselves to water from a water cooler with a plastic tap. Water coolers are popular in Dubai and offers refreshing cold water in the hot heat.

There are two main reasons, the first is due to the taste, as its desalinated water and the lack of minerals makes the water unpleasant. The second is water systems may not be managed well in buildings or villas, such as cleaning the water tanks and pipes. So it is safer to drink bottled water due to bacteria and water-borne illnesses.

Also, the water is typically warm due to the desert climate, so again this may not make it enjoyable to drink.

Water coolers offer convenience as they have both cold and boiling water functions for the fast making of drinks. On top of this, many water deliver companies offer easy delivery options and the large bottles designed for water coolers are taken back to be reused.

Before you leave make sure to check out some of my other helpful articles about Dubai:

What is the Dubai climate? How is the weather in Dubai?
What country is Dubai in? Plus other fun facts to know before you go!
Dubai for women; is it safe as a woman to go to Dubai?
Is it illegal to drink alcohol in Dubai? Can I get arrested for being drunk?


The majority of water supplies in the UAE and Dubai are safe to drink. The UAE government have strict measures to ensure the safety of tap water which meets international standards. However, most buildings and villas have water storage tanks and the management of these are independent. So if you feel where you are staying isn’t well managed, then it is safer for you to drink bottled water.

Many expats choose to drink bottled or filtered water due to the taste and assured safety. The Dubai heat can also make it unpleasant to drink tap water as it is unlikely to be cold for the majority of the year.

If you’re thinking to buy a water filter for your villa or apartment in the UAE, check out some of the various models available here.

We hope this article has provided helpful information about the safety of Dubai tap water, as well as how you can make it more palatable. Have fun and stay hydrated!

Read more Visit Dubai Guides

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