How To Research Tap Water Quality & Safety In Different Countries & Cities

Some people may be interested in researching the tap water quality and general safety in a certain city or town.

In the guide below, we list various points that might be considered when conducting this type of research.


(Note – this guide contains general information only. It is not professional advice)


Summary – Researching Tap Water Quality & Safety

There might be six things that someone can do to research tap water quality and safety in a particular city or town.

Those six things might include, but aren’t limited to:

1. Understand Where Water Comes From, & How Water Quality Can Be Impacted 

2. Understand The Public Treatment Process Of The Water

3. Check Water Quality & Water Safety Legislation, Regulations, Standards & Guidelines/Requirements In The Local Jurisdiction

4. Access Public Water Testing Reports, Data & Indexes For Water Quality

5. Understand That Some Third Parties May Report Different Water Quality Data & Assessments

6. Understand That Independent Testing And Secondary Testing Might Be An Option


*Note About Water Testing & Water Safety

Refer to the laws and regulations in your area, and consult a qualified water testing professional for an expert opinion on water testing.

The information in this guide is not a substitute for legislation or professional water testing.


1. Understand Where Water Comes From, & How It Water Quality Can Be Impacted

Firstly, it might be important to understand that water comes from different water sources across society.

Between being extracted or generated from those water sources, and getting to the end consumer, there’s a number of ways the water quality can be impacted.

Some of those ways might include but aren’t limited to:

Water can be polluted or contaminated in a number of different ways at different water sources such as lakes, rivers, groundwater aquifers, etc. 

– Treating water can alter the quality of the water

– Water infrastructure such as pipes for the public tap water supply can potentially contain chemicals or substances that may alter water quality in some ways

Some reports claim that some public supply pipes may have leaching problems where heavy metals and other compounds can leach into the water, and contaminate it


2. Understand The Public Treatment Process Of The Water

Public water treatment to prepare water for the public supply may use the same general principles in most places

However, different places may have slightly different steps in their public water treatment processes.

Knowing how water is treated may give someone an idea of how the treatment process may be able to change the water quality.


An Example Of Water Treatment In A Specific City

One example of tap water treatment can be found in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Sydney’s water treatment process is (paraphrased, via

Water is collected from lakes and rivers

Water quality is measured by turbidity (the amount of suspended particles in the water) and other characteristics such as the amount of natural matter

Water is sent to plants to be filtered and treated

Secondary chlorination occurs, limiting the amount to 5 milligrams per litre for the water that people eventually drink

Water is delivered in pipes to homes

Water is monitored

Water quality is verified via further testing


3. Check Water Quality & Water Safety Legislation, Regulations, Standards & Guidelines/Requirements In The Local Jurisdiction

Understanding the local water quality and water safety legislation, regulations, standards and guidelines in an area can give someone an idea of water quality and water safety requirements to look for.

One good example of a requirement of safe water might be the legal maximum limits allowed for certain contaminants, which regulations might identify.

In this guide, we outline examples of drinking water laws and guidelines in several countries and regions in the world


4. Access Public Water Testing Reports, Data, & Indexes For Water Quality

Some cities provide their testing reports/data (which may be updated in real time, or periodically), and also indexes for water quality online (usually on a recognised authorities’ website)


What Measurements & Data A Testing Report Might Give You

A report may give you a number of measurements or bits of data relating to the water quality, including but not limited to:

Whether the water meets the safe drinking water guidelines

What % clean the water is

Where the water quality ranks on an index, of say, 0-100

Colour, taste and smell of the water

Other factors such as clarity (turbidity), minerals and natural substances like iron and manganese, colour, pH, bacteria, such as E. coli, chlorine and fluoride levels, and contaminants like fuel and pesticides


Examples Of Cities & Regions That Provide Reports, Data Or Indexes On Water Quality

Examples of States and cities (or regions) that provide reports or indexes on water quality for their citizens are:

– NSW, Australia

NSW Drinking Water Quality ( 

Sydney Daily Drinking Water Report ( 


– Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Water Quality (

Monitoring Melbourne Water Quality ( 


– South Australia

‘SA Annual Reports On Water Quality’ (  (tests % compliance for health related chemicals)


– Texas, United States

Texas Drinking Water Quality (


– Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

‘Drinking Water Quality Index, Newfoundland & Labrador’ ( 


How To Find Reports, Data & Indexes On Water Quality

You may start by typing into a search engine – ‘drinking water quality in [insert your state or city name here]’

You should be able to find an official government water quality reporting site, a recognised water authority site, a water quality index, and other relevant water quality resources and information.

If you look at third party and non government online resources, there may not be a way to verify the data they contain.

Refer to the official water quality data, reports and indexes from recognized bodies as a priority. 


5. Understand That Some Third Parties May Report Different Water Quality Data & Assessments

Some third parties may report different water quality data and assessments compared to the official water quality or safety of tap water in a certain location.

Third parties may even disagree amongst each other.

There can be different reasons for this.

But, this data and these assessments might be taken as subjective only (and not definitive data or assessments)

A few examples might be:


– Latvia

Just one example of this might be applicable to Latvian tap water.

We found at least one blog that mentioned Latvian tap water is clean and safe.

BUT,, an embassy for the republic of Latvia states ‘It is recommended not to drink water straight from the tap. The water should be boiled or filtered through a special water cleaner before drinking.’ 


– Hungary

Another example might be Hungary, where the government might say tap water is safe, but some external organisations disagree (factors like lead pipes which might contaminate the water come into play). 

Read more in this guide:

Politics & Hungarian Drinking Water ( 


Read more about the politics of drinking water here:

Water Politics (

The Politics Of Drinking Water ( 


– Jacksonville, Florida

Another example might be Jacksonville, Florida – where some activist groups allege chemicals found in the drinking/tap water there are linked to cancer, amongst other issues.

There is also some question though over whether these claims are made partially to strengthen the case to offer water purification [water filtering or even bottled water] services and products (, and

Other sources like provide information contrary to the activists’ claim about Jacksonville’s water supply, saying there are ‘no out of compliance tests’.

They say ‘customers [can] find and fix unsafe water, by calling the utility out to test their pipes or have a state-certified lab test their water’.


– Alleged Places With Best & Worst Drinking Water, & Most Contaminated Tap Water

In this guide, we list what might be some of the places with the best and worst drinking water.

And, in this guide we list some places that might have some of the most contaminated tap water.

The places that appear on these lists may also be in conflict to information elsewhere that indicates that the water meets basic standards for drinking water.


6. Understand That Independent Testing And Secondary Testing Might Be An Option

Independent water testing and secondary testing of water might be carried out in some places beyond primary testing by recognized water authorities.

For example, water utility companies might be called out, or state-certified testers who lab-certify water might perform testing

There are also examples online of people calling in independent testers to test water out of pipes, or directly out the tap (where legal and safe to do both)

These tests can give an extra layer of understanding to the real water quality of tap water in some places.


Water Purification

In some locales, some individuals choose to filter or purify water in their homes (in a number of ways) after it has come from public supply pipes and taps.

Another option people might pursue is harvesting their own private water supplies where it’s legal, such as harvesting rainwater.
















12. (tests % compliance for health related chemicals)








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