Most Romanians drink water directly from the tap, even though in some places it is rumored that tap water is not safe to drink. And today we’re going to talk about this important subject: is tap water safe to drink in Romania?
I have to start by saying that the price of bottled water in Romania is really low – so if you want to be 100% safe, you won’t have to spend a fortune. While prices in Romania are going up, you can still buy a large 5-liter jug of water for around $1.
But today, we’re talking about tap water and whether it is safe or not to drink. This is one of the first things I research before visiting a new country (or city) and I’m probably not the only one doing it.
Can you drink tap water in Romania?
In general, the answer is “YES!” You can drink tap water in any city, town or village in Romania without worrying that you’ll get an upset stomach or other problems.
But, as you probably expect to read, in reality there are some additional things that you should consider and be aware of before drinking the tap water here. We’ll talk about them below.
The most important thing to know is that not all cities in the country are equal in terms of tap water quality. In other words, the tap water in Bucharest isn’t the same as the tap water in Cluj, Brasov, Timisoara and so on. Just like anywhere in the world.
In all cases, the water that you get on tap is highly chlorinated. Although this adds a specific smell to it and a particular taste, it’s not something bad, as chlorine is used to destroy all living organisms in the said water in order to make it safe.
Some cities use more, while some need to add less chlorine in order to keep the water safe to drink. This is all controlled by experts, and the amount of added chlorine is not harmful to a human’s body.
A couple of years ago, there was a scandal in Bucharest regarding the quality of the tap water, where the City Hall was claiming that there’s too much chlorine added to it. The company handling this stated that they indeed used more chlorine than usually because of recent floods that made the water quality worse, but that the water itself was still safe to drink.
The easiest way to get rid of that unpleasant chlorine smell and taste is to let the water sit for a while. Additionally, if you spend more time in the country, you can buy a water filtering can (we always use one) which will not only remove chlorine, but other heavy metals as well.
And this is the second problem when it comes to the quality of the water in Romania.
The pipes transporting the said water are very old, so you can expect your water to have traces of rust and various other metals.
The same goes for pesticides, nitrates and nitrites – all of which are expected to be withing safety limits but either way, might still be present.
The companies handling the tap water distribution run water tests on a daily basis, though, so everything is kept under control. Even though in some places the water quality might not be the best, it is still safe to drink.
Not all places in Romania have tap water!
While all the cities and towns in the country offer safe to drink tap water, many of the villages don’t.
Instead, here you will be served water from the old wells that are either scattered throughout the village, or in the back yard.
That water is usually of very poor quality and you’ll most likely have tummy problems if you drink it.
So, even though all the people in the village will tell you that the water is safe to drink and refreshing and better than bottled water, I would never risk having it if it’s coming from a well – at least one you can’t see with your own eyes.
Chances are that if you see how it looks, you’ll never drink water from it!
As some of you might know already, we have recently purchased a village house in Romania. The first thing that we did was test the tap water quality and we were surprised to find out that it was safe to drink.
It was a very hard water according to the tests (so we use a filtering can), but it was safe to drink. So even in smaller villages, it looks like the water treatment facilities are doing their job well.
So, should you drink the tap water in Romania?
This is definitely a matter of personal preference. I know a ton of people who swear by the tap water in Romania and who have never had problems with it.
I also know foreigners who visited the country and drank tap water. Again – no problems.
We personally prefer to drink bottled water instead in order to limit the amount of various chemicals that might be in the water (remember, in the city where I live, Drobeta Turnu Severin, we get our tap water from the Danube!)
However, when cooking, we’re using the tap water, but from the water filtering can instead. These are the best option for long term stays, in my opinion and I will explain why.
The biggest problem with the tap water in Romania is not that it has anything alive in it – the chlorine handles that.
But the problem is that the plumbing systems in all cities are extremely old and I’ve read many reports saying that there are a lot of unneeded metals – including rust – in the tap water that we’re getting.
A water filter (they’re sold in all supermarkets and they’re around 10 Euros each) does exactly that: removes chlorine, metals and other bad things from the tap water, making it better to drink in my opinion.
So if you stay for longer here, I would definitely suggest investing in this extra gadget to make sure you’re getting the best water quality possible. This probably goes for all countries in the world.
There are options to install filters directly on your faucet but this is definitely not something you should consider if you only visit for a short period of time.
So, there is no simple, one word answer to the question in the article’s title: Is tap water safe to drink in Romania?
However, as you have seen already above, the general rule of thumb is that you can safely drink it in all cities and towns, but it’s better to take extra measures and use a filter to remove potential rust particles and other metals making their way through the old pipes.
If you’re only spending a few days here, there’s no need to invest in a water filter and you can definitely consume tap water without worrying too much or play it extra safe and spend a few lei on a few bottles of water.