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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53 thoughts on “Drinking water guide in India”

  1. 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..

  2. 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.


  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. It’s really interesting blog. I find it more useful information. Luckily, I see the site on a big forum and I stop by. Please keep posting everyday. Thank you very much!

  15. That was an incredible affection, thank you for offering this eminent post, truly ha an extraordinary time perusing and studying on your articles. Kindly don’t quit composing instructive and educational expositions.

  16. Dear Shalu Mam! I just want to know the effects of drinking Soda water regularly.Not cola, 7up etc etc…. pls give ur valuable suggestion for this..,.thanks Padmanabhan

  17. i have also read some article about water filter and found Antioxidant Alkaline water is good for health and keep protect our life, as well as remove of toxines & easte from internal organs

  18. Thanks for sharing these tips, It’s really useful for me. Mineral water is the most important part of body and human can’t deprive of so we must be consider when drinking water. Following these suggestions, I always feeling safely on the drinking water when go abroad.

  19. These days I cook organic food and use my fruit and veg juicer blender most days.
    Whilst I was on this journey I found out that the water I was drinking was fluoridized and had other contaminates in it.

    • drinking water is essential for human life in india brands that dominate everything bisleri indeed the quality is good and awake,,,, I had never drank water from there and I want to try

  20. drinking water is essential for human life in india brands that dominate everything bisleri indeed the quality is good and awake,,,, I had never drank water from there and I want to try

  21. I always carry a bottle of water, that I filtered at home. And I will never hesitate to buy a bottle of water from a store when I’m out of my home and my bottle of water has run out.

  22. Drinking water is also called potable water, and it is water of a decent enough quality to consume or use with a very low risk of getting contaminated or harmed. Many developed countries have a water supply that is provided to either households or businesses, which is all of a drinking water standard.

  23. Drinking water is the first part of living on the earth there is this good article about water purification really appreciate keep it up it has unique ideas

  24. I travelled India for three months with my 8 year old son and we never had a problem with drinking street chai – and we drank a lot of it.

    I think it would be a shame for people to be too paranoid to drink street chai, because its just such a tasty and heart warming drink… its an experience in itself. It made us feel at home and provided a nice break at tea stalls on long journeys.

    We also drank bottled water (I never paid attention to the brand) and when we were in remote areas we drank and cooked with river water that we either boiled or gave a once over with a steripen. I only recall having a bit of the runs for a few days in our whole trip. No vomits, no stomach aches… maybe we were just lucky. ?

  25. Attractive, post by you!!! It is very important to have water while travelling, we can carry water from the house, but while we are travelling for long distances, it’s not possible to carry bottles. Then we have to buy it from local vendors. At that time, everyone should know about its brands

  26. I have a chance to visit this country and I lived in Coimbatore. I am very interesting and excited when I come here. I also saw the way people here carried and drunk the water. This tip is useful for us, thank you.

  27. Being an Indian, I also know how hard it is to find a safe drinking water, mostly during the travel. All the points mentioned in this post most be very helpful to every foreign tourist and for Indian too.

  28. it sure is difficult to find good drinking water in India. i have stomach problems whenever i visit. thanks to bottled water and alkaline water which is gaining popularity now a days

  29. really good info for travellers. I personally carry my own water in water bottles or water bags. As I have a kangen water machine at home, we mostly carry alklaine water whenever we travel, and refrain from any bottled waters which are acidic in nature.

  30. Very informative and quality content. Really loved it. Drinking water is also called potable water, and it is water of a decent enough quality to consume or use with a very low risk of getting contaminated or harmed. Keep up the good work.

  31. I tend to carry a water purifer ( like a portable water fitler, or a water distiller) to purify water. At least, boil water and then drink. This can kill most bacteria adn viruses in the water.

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