The UK has one of the best water supply systems in the world, but is the water that comes out of your bathroom taps safe to drink? We find out…
It’s an all-too-common situation, in which you’re bound to have found yourself. You wake up in the middle of the night, feeling thirsty, head to the bathroom and pour yourself a drink of water from the tap. However, when you’ve done this, have you ever stopped to think whether this water is safe to drink?
Domestic water supplies in the UK
Water is essential for life, and we all need access to safe and clean drinking water. In the UK, we’re fortunate enough to have one of the best water supply systems in the world. However, many people still wonder if British bathroom water is safe to drink.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that there are 2 types of water supply systems in the UK: mains water and private water. Mains water is supplied by the water companies, and it is the water that comes out of your taps. Private water, on the other hand, is water that comes from a private supply, such as a natural spring, well or borehole. However, just 1% of the population of England and 3% of the population of Walers, use a private water supply.
In the UK, mains water is regulated by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI). The DWI sets strict standards for the quality of mains water, including its chemical composition, microbiological content and clarity. These standards are designed to protect public health, and the DWI carries out regular inspections to ensure that they are being met.
One of the main concerns about bathroom water is that it might contain harmful chemicals or bacteria. However, the DWI requires that all mains water is treated to remove any harmful contaminants. This means that the water that comes out of your bathroom taps should be safe to drink.
However, there are some exceptions to this. If you live in an older property (especially if it was built before the 1970s), you may have lead pipes. Lead can leach into the water over time, and this can be harmful if you drink it. If you are unsure about the quality of your water supply, you can contact your local water company to ask for advice.
Frequently asked questions about bathroom water
We’ve answered some frequently asked questions about drinking tap water from your bathroom below.
Do bathroom taps supply drinking water?
Yes, as long as the bathroom is connected to mains supply, rather than a private water supply, this ensures it is safe to drink. There should be no difference (other than taste and smell) to the water you’d get from a kitchen tap in the same property.
Why does my bathroom water have a different taste?
Another concern is that bathroom water may have a different taste or smell to the water that comes out of your kitchen tap. This is because the water in your bathroom may have been sitting in the pipes for longer, and it may have picked up some of the minerals or metals that are present in the pipes. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that the water is unsafe to drink.
Is bathroom water safe to drink in London?
Yes, like the rest of the UK, most homes, hotels and businesses take water from the mains, which is supplied by water companies. Therefore, it is covered by the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) who ensure that mains water is safe to drink. Water may taste and even smell a little different in London, when compared to other parts of the UK, due to the local mineral content. Water from the London area is generally “hard” meaning it has a high mineral content—considered better for you than “soft” water which can be found in some other regions.
In conclusion, mains water in the UK is generally safe to drink, including the water that comes out of your bathroom taps. However, if you have any concerns about the quality of your water supply, you should contact your local water company for advice. Additionally, if you have lead pipes in your property, you should avoid drinking water from the bathroom taps.
More advice on domestic water systems
At Victoria Plum, you’ll find plenty of helpful advice on domestic plumbing and water systems.
If you’d like to protect your home from hard and soft water issues, find out more about the NoCalc limescale inhibitor, on sale now at Victoria Plum.
If you’re seeking something more specific, like when the flow from your shower or tap is weak, you may want to read our article on understanding water pressure or discover how to stay safe in the bathroom.
Shop bathroom taps
At Victoria Plum, you’ll find one of the largest selections of bathroom taps in the UK. From basin mixer taps to bath shower mixers and more, get the tap you want at the lowest prices around.