Can I drink the tap water in China?

Living in, moving to or traveling to China and want to know if you can drink the tap water China?

Access to safe and clean water is essential to human health. Therefore it’s no surprise that public concern over drinking water safety has risen sharply in recent years following a number of water pollution incidents.
获得安全和清洁的水对人类健康至关重要。 因此,在发生多起水污染事件后,公众对饮用水安全的关注度近年来急剧上升也就不足为奇了。

As with many countries the answer for China depends on where you are and what you consider clean water. In this article we will explore it and where you can drink the tap water, where it comes from, how it’s treated water filters for China and bottled water.
与许多国家一样,中国的答案取决于您所在的位置以及您认为清洁的水源。 在本文中,我们将探讨它以及您可以在哪里饮用自来水、它来自哪里、它是如何处理中国的滤水器和瓶装水的。

Where does the tap water in China come?

Historically most populated of areas in China have had an abundance of access to fresh water in the shape of lakes, rivers and groundwater. This has changed over the past 50 years due to the industrial revolution and farming fertiliser and pesticides.

As China’s economy grows and the population expands, natural waterbodies have been badly affected by environmental pollution. New pollutants, such as organic matters and heavy metals, are more complex and more difficult to treat.

Across China 85% of the water in the city’s major rivers was undrinkable in 2015, according to official standards, and 56.4% was unfit for any purpose. In Tianjin, northern China’s principal port city and home to 15 million people, a mere 4.9% of water is usable as a drinking water source.

But there are positive sides to technology as well. Big cities like Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen are equipped with new water purification technologies to remove these pollutants that couldn’t be effectively removed by conventional water purification techniques (e.g., biological pre-treatment, ozone-activated carbon filtration). Unfortunately this is a race to the bottom as water gets worse and it becomes virtually impossible to filter out everything.
但技术也有积极的一面。 广州、上海和深圳等大城市配备了新的净水技术,以去除传统净水技术(例如生物预处理、臭氧活性炭过滤)无法有效去除的污染物。 不幸的是,这是一场逐底竞争,因为水越来越差,几乎不可能过滤掉所有东西。

What do the Chinese say about tap water?

The government officials in the large cities generally claim that the tap water is drinkable / potable according to international standards (e.g EPA and WHO). However if you ask most mid to high income families they will say they don’t trust the tap water and it’s not worth the risk.

Why do people boil the tap water?

The main reason why Chinese do not drink unboiled water is that parasites infection( Schistosoma, Leptospirosis etc) used to be a severe problem in southern China. Hence, the government took great effect to propagate the idea, ‘ Never Drink Unboiled Water’. As a result, it is engraved in people’s mind.
中国人不喝生水的主要原因是寄生虫感染(血吸虫、钩端螺旋体病等)在中国南方曾经是一个严重的问题。 因此,政府大力宣传“不喝生水”的理念。 因此,它铭刻在人们的脑海中。

Who monitors the tap water in China?

Tap water quality is closely monitored following the Chinese Standards for Drinking Water Quality (GB5749-2006) since 1 July 2012.

But not all cities are compliant. January 2015, Oriental Outlook published a report on the public information about tap water quality in 29 Chinese cities. According to the report, more than 70% have enforced relevant water management regulations and requirements about information disclosure requirements. However, there are large differences in the publication cycle.

  • Daily: Ningbo, Shaoyang and Suzhou
  • Weekly: Jinan, Qingdao, Hefei and Wuxi
  • Monthly: Xi’an, Nanjing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Urumqi, Hangzhoux, Chongqing and 8 other cities
  • Quarterly: Beijing
  • 每天:宁波、邵阳和苏州
  • 每周一次:济南、青岛、合肥和无锡
  • 每月一次:西安、南京、深圳、上海、广州、乌鲁木齐、杭州、重庆和其他八个城市
  • 季度:北京


So can you drink the tap water in China?

Yes. If your city discloses the water quality results at least on a monthly basis and those results show contaminants below regulations then its most likely safe to drink in the short to mid term. Unlike India the main issue is not pathogens (bacteria and viruses) but heavy metals and other pollutants. The exception is older buildings where bacteria contamination from water tanks and leaking pipes is still a possibility. This is why you’ll see most Chinese families boiling the water.
是的。 如果您的城市至少每月公布一次水质结果,并且这些结果显示污染物低于规定,那么在中短期内饮用最有可能是安全的。 与印度不同,主要问题不是病原体(细菌和病毒),而是重金属和其他污染物。 例外是老建筑,水箱和管道漏水的细菌污染仍然是可能的。 这就是为什么你会看到大多数中国家庭烧水的原因。

Long term exposure to tap water is a different issue. Even at the regulated levels exposure to lead, mercury, chromium, nitrate, arsenic, pesticides, PFAS and chlorine bi-products there is evidence that it may have adverse health affects such as cancer, kidney failure and even brain damage. In addition to this there’s Microplastics with unknown health impact.
长期接触自来水是一个不同的问题。 即使在规定的水平下接触铅、汞、铬、硝酸盐、砷、杀虫剂、PFAS 和氯副产品,也有证据表明它可能对健康产生不利影响,例如癌症、肾衰竭甚至脑损伤。 除此之外,还有对健康影响未知的微塑料。

For infants and children this is a lot worse as there is no safe level of e.g. lead. Children should not consume unfiltered tap water unless you’ve had it tested and e.g. heavy metals are undetected.
对于婴儿和儿童来说,情况要糟糕得多,因为没有安全水平例如铅。 儿童不应饮用未经过滤的自来水,除非您已经对其进行过测试,例如 重金属未被检测到。

Note that boiling the water will only kill pathogens and not remove any heavy metals or other contaminants.

What is the best water filter for China?

We will look at two scenarios to chose the best water filter for China.
我们将通过两种情况来选择最适合中国的净水器 。

1.You live in a modern building in a city such as Shenzhen where the tap water is considered safe.

A high quality faucet filter such as TAPP Water with activated carbon will remove or reduce all common contaminants to safe levels. Faucet filters are affordable, easy to install and only require the cartridges to be changed every couple of months. As a bonus TAPP Water cartridges are biodegradable and leave zero plastic residue.
高质量的水龙头过滤器,如带活性炭的TAPP Water,将去除或减少所有常见污染物至安全水平。水龙头过滤器价格合理,易于安装,只需要每隔几个月更换一次滤芯。作为奖励,TAPP Water的滤芯是可生物降解的,不会留下任何塑料残留物。

As an extra precaution you can boil the water but it really shouldn’t be necessary.

2. You live in a city with old infrastructure, and old building or where the tap water is not considered safe.
2. 你居住在基础设施陈旧、建筑物陈旧或自来水不安全的城市。

To be on the safe side use a multi-stage filter including activated carbon, ion exchange and reverse osmosis or UV light. These filters will ensure that common contaminants as well as pathogens are reduced to safe levels. The negative aspect of these filters is that they require continuous maintenance. Without the filtered water may be worse than the unfiltered.
为了安全起见,请使用多级过滤器,包括活性炭、离子交换和反渗透或紫外线。 这些过滤器将确保将常见污染物和病原体减少到安全水平。 这些过滤器的不利方面是它们需要持续维护。 不然经过滤的水可能比未经过滤的水更糟。

BlueWater provides one of the best multi-staged filters available for households, restaurants, hotels and other large scale installation.
BlueWater 蓝水集团是提供最好的多级净水器之一,适用于家庭、餐厅、酒店和其他大规模安装。

Bottled water in China

There is no scientific evidence that bottled water is cleaner or healthier than tap water or filtered tap water. As a matter of fact most bottles water is simply filtered tap water. A big global study in 2018 by Orb Media also showed that 94% bottled water contains Microplastics. Considering the environmental impact and cost there is therefore really no excuse to consume bottled water. A water filter will save you hundreds of dollars per year and is better in almost every way.
没有科学证据表明瓶装水比自来水或过滤自来水更清洁或更健康。 事实上,大多数瓶装水只是过滤后的自来水。 Orb Media 在 2018 年进行的一项大型全球研究也表明,94% 的瓶装水含有微塑料。 考虑到环境影响和成本,因此真的没有理由饮用瓶装水。净水器每年可为您节省数百美元,而且几乎在各个方面都更好。


The tap water is drinkable when it leaves the water treatment plant in most cities but due to old infrastructure it may not be safe at the tap Boiling the water is generally not sufficient to make it safe as it only kills pathogens To be on the safe side for you and your family use a water filter in China. Read above to find out if TAPP Water is the best filter for your circumstances Avoid bottled water if you can as there is no evidence it’s healthier than tap water and it’s bad for the environment.


在大多数城市,自来水在离开水处理厂时是可以饮用的,但由于基础设施陈旧,自来水可能并不安全 煮沸的水一般不足以使其安全,因为它只能杀死病原体 为了你和你的家人的安全,在中国使用净水器。请阅读上文,了解TAPP Water是否是适合你情况的最佳过滤器 如果可以的话,避免使用瓶装水,因为没有证据表明它比自来水更健康,而且对环境有害。