Drinking Tap Water in Bali: Risks and Solutions
This guide explains the risks associated with drinking tap water in Bali and providing practical solutions for overcoming these challenges.
No, you should not drink the tap water in Bali. Fortunately, the abundance and accessibility of clean and bottled water on the island makes that a non-problem.
As an expat living in Bali, one of the most idyllic destinations in the world, it’s essential to adapt to the local environment to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Among the many aspects to consider, one of the most crucial is water consumption.
The Risks of Drinking Tap Water in Bali
The tap water in Bali is not considered safe for direct consumption due to several factors, including inadequate water treatment, outdated infrastructure, and potential contamination from agricultural and industrial pollutants. Consuming untreated tap water can expose you to a variety of health risks, such as:
Bacterial infections: E. coli, salmonella, and shigella are common bacteria found in untreated water sources, which can cause severe gastrointestinal distress and even life-threatening complications in some cases.
Viral infections: Hepatitis A and other viral infections can be transmitted through contaminated water, posing a significant risk to your health for both short and long term.
Parasites: Drinking contaminated water can expose you to parasites like giardia and cryptosporidium, causing symptoms such as abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea.
Bali Belly: A term notoriously infamous on the island used to describe Bali’s version of ‘traveler’s diarrhea’ or food poisoning, primarily caused by one or more of the previous issues above.
Solutions for Safe Water Consumption in Bali
To protect yourself from the potential health risks associated with drinking tap water in Bali, consider the following solutions:
Bottled Water: Rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking, and preparing beverages. Ensure that the bottles are sealed when you purchase them, and opt for reputable brands to minimize the risk of contamination. But don’t worry, clean water is everywhere and extremely affordable.
Avoiding Ice: When dining out, request drinks without ice, as the ice may be made from untreated tap water. Alternatively, ask the establishment if they use purified water for their ice.
Water Purification Systems: If you’re staying in Bali for an extended period, consider investing in a water purification system for your home. Options include water filters, ultraviolet (UV) light systems, and reverse osmosis systems. These systems can effectively remove contaminants and provide safe drinking water.
Boiling Water: Boil tap water for at least one minute before consumption, as this can kill most bacteria, viruses, and parasites. While not as effective as other methods, boiling water can be a useful short-term solution, especially during temporary stays or emergencies.
Brushing Teeth: Be cautious when brushing your teeth, ensuring that you don’t accidentally swallow tap water. Use bottled or boiled water to rinse your toothbrush and mouth to minimize the risk of ingesting contaminants.
Living in Bali as an expat or traveling through can be a dream come true, but it’s important to be aware of the potential risks associated with drinking tap water. By understanding the dangers and implementing the suggested solutions, you can maintain your health and well-being while enjoying all that Bali has to offer.
Always prioritize safe water consumption, and remember that a little extra caution can go a long way in ensuring a memorable and healthy experience on this beautiful island.