Drinking water guide in India

One of the first concerns while travelling in India is where to get water from. Drinking water fountains are a rare sight and even when where there is one, an issue of quality crops up in the mind of a tourist. The golden rule is not to drink tap water. The safest bet therefore is to go for bottled water, but is it?

There are currently half-a-dozen major bottle water brands in India. The most popular are Bisleri, kinley and Aquafina. Of these, Bisleri has a longest presence in India. It’s an Italian company which came to India back in the 1960s. It’s a big player in the bottle water industry. There are smaller players too that claim to have very high standards. But that’s only a part of the story.

India is still a developing country. Rules are not always enforced which often results in a slack in standards or outright tampering. For a tourist, it’s difficult for them to know if a particular company is meeting standards or not. Therefore it’s better to choose from well known and major brands to be on the safer side.

Bisleri water

Bisleri water

Although buying a bottle of mineral water that has the logo of a famous company is a good safety measure but it is not always foolproof. There are numerous accounts of tourists (and Indians of course) who have bought bottled water that have been refilled with tap water and resold to them. There are scrupulous street vendors who refill the empty bottles, keeping the company logos intact, with tap water and resell them on street stalls or railway platforms. In the absence of tough enforcement of law; it’s a common practice, even in the big cities. That’s disappointing. However, it doesn’t mean you have to carry all your drinking water with you when you are travelling in India. There are a few tips to quench your thirst the safe way.

Drinking water guide in India

Check the cap

The plastic cover or cap is not a guarantee of security. Find a relatively quiet place to open a water bottle and listen to the sound it makes. If you hear a snapping sound at two-three times, your bottle is safe. If not then it’s better to throw it in a dustbin. Caps on compromised bottles are often glued; therefore you don’t hear a sound.

Try alternative drinks

Go for juices, soda, cartoned and similar drinks. It’s because it’s harder to refill an empty juice or soda bottle. Even here, prefer big brands.

Carry a portable travel water purifier

You may find the little plastic bottle a little heavy, but it’s a must if you plan to travel for long periods. It will come especially handy when you are in the countryside, or not staying in hotels.

Boil your water

It’s not possible to carry a whole set of culinary tools with you. But it’s not difficult to carry a small mug or kettle that prepares coffee/tea. Use that to boil your water. It will save you potential trips to a doctor.

When in a situation where you are thirsty and it’s not possible to ensure if the water you are drinking is pure, you better drink something. India is a hot country and you wouldn’t want to lose conscious because of dehydration. Your best bet is to the take the typhoid and cholera vaccinations if you plan to visit India. Even Indians are now taking these vaccinations. Boosters jab normally after 6 months of your first one will immune you for life against water borne diseases.

More travel tips for India

51 things to buy in India
Tips to keep cool in the Indian summer
How to book train tickets in India

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31 Responses to “Drinking water guide in India”

  1. Thanks for the tips on drinking water and the company practices. It is a shame that some companies would stoop to trying to fool the consumers.

    There are companies in the U.S. suspected of using purely tap water.

    They use tricky words also, for example I believe companies like Aquafina used purified water, not filtered water, like most consumers believe.

  2. Sneha says:

    Very useful information Ma\’am. I didn’t know that caps are stuck with glue before eading your blog.. Thanks for sharing this useful information. Will be cautious next time while traveling..

  3. Sapna says:

    Hi Shalu Jee

    Thanks to our Laws,Some people are really making mockery of the system. They are using mentioned methods for minting money and putting many lives in danger.
    I am firm believer that water has to be pure. These anti social elements should be severely punished.

    Thanks for sharing this great info.

    Sapna

  4. Nice information. Unsafe water also causes many stomach diseases. One should always drink pure water.

  5. Ehsan Ullah says:

    Thanks for sharing the tips Shalu and for letting us know about the brandable water companies in India. Well, everyone should drink water carefully because ya know, unsafe water can cause diseases.
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  6. My fault I thought companies were selling the water. I used have known when you said street stalls.

  7. Thanks for sharing this one! hoping to see more of your good post next time..

  8. Krish says:

    Thanks for sharing such interesting and helpful information..

  9. Ali Aufguss says:

    I will print this out and pack it in my travel bag whenever I visit India again. Thanksss!

  10. Kumar Gauraw says:

    Hi Shalu,

    Thanks for sharing the tips on the drinking water.

    Water is the one source of life we must all be careful about and just to add to your point, drinking water not just is a problem in India, but even here in US, we struggle with the water purity and the contaminants found in drinking water.

    The best way to drink proper water is to know the source of the water and if the source is not known, or when we are traveling, staying with branded bottles that have not been bottled for a long time, should be the preference.

    Thanks for sharing so much information on several aspects of traveling to India.
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  11. your right i got very bad experience while i was traveling from chennai to vizag in the train.. we have to strictly follow what you suggested for healty drinking …

  12. sumit says:

    Thanks for sharing such a useful post shalu sharma.
    water is life and your tips on what type of water we should drink are really amazing.

  13. Shorya Bist says:

    Hi Shalu Ji,

    Nice to see that you give importance to small things also which if not taken care proply then can be a big mistake.Yes it happens in India ,many bottle seller just provide unpurified water by using the bottles of brands like biselry.

    I liked your idea to listen the sound when opening the cap.

    Thank You
    Shorya Bist
    From Youthofest

  14. Hi Shalu ,
    I have read ur previous blogs also . Really good and this one is really appreciable . Water is first need of any living person . I have also founded an organization Jal Bhagirathi at Jodhpur and implements many programs to provide neat and clean water to the villagers to improve their lifeststyle.

  15. eawater says:

    An Educational Guide About Drinking Water in India.It is important to have clean drinking water to prevent the spread and contraction of diseases, and it is also important to regularly drink water every day to avoid dehydration.

  16. Larry says:

    Your absolutely right! Nowadays drinking water is not pure in so many places.

  17. peo services says:

    thanks a lot for showing interest in to me…i really appreciate this king of information here.

  18. Ankit says:

    I can’t even imagine someone writing on such topic. This will really be helpful for people in remote locations.

  19. Mubashir says:

    I like your work… Keep it up with same pace
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  20. Julidarma says:

    Thanks for your guidance Shalu. Check the seal is very important berfore buying any products include the water drink. At any case the duplicate water drink can harm the consumer health.
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  21. Checking the seal is the key. If it is tampered or something then don’t buy it. To ensure safe drinking water, there are gadgets nowadays that turned ordinary tap water to alkaline or something after just a few minutes. Always carry them around when traveling.

  22. Mi Muba says:

    The last tip; boil water before you drink is an evergreen tip for all time; we must publicize it at the grassroot level specially in poor regions of the world where people don’t have access to water and if they have that is not pure and full of various types of pollutants. The only no-cost way-out to drink this type of water is to boil it before its intake. Very informative tips Shalu; thanks for sharing
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  23. Phil says:

    This is a helpful post. There are advantages and disadvantages with all water purification options while traveling, but some are better than others. If you are traveling long-term, bottled water can add up, so I would say boil the water or go with the alternative you proposed, which is a portable filtration device. Devices like the SteriPEN do a great job and they are relatively inexpensive and lightweight. Even if you get vaccinated, there is not a vaccination for basic traveler’s diarrhea, which is often caught by drinking water that has not been purified.

  24. Good Tips. In addition to what you said about the seal :-Also check the ISI mark on the bottle. ISI is the mark issued by the Govt of India to all Bottled Water Manufacturers. And they are very strict. It\’s not that easy to just bribe them up.

    Point bis :- Once you have any Bottle having a ISI mark, you are safe to drink.
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  25. kumar utsaw says:

    Look out for OASIS drinking water fountains for safe and hygienic water, which are running successfully in various airports, malls and various public places across India.

  26. ranganr says:

    Drinking water is the most essential of all needs yet the pollution is so high that one needs to care of drinking water in india.

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