If you’re heading to Germany and wondering about the quality of the tap water then I have good news for you. Germany has one of the best quality water supplies in the world.
Water is something that the German authorities take incredibly seriously. You’ll find that some local water authorities are quite prone to bragging about the quality of their tap water. The quality is said to be as good in rural areas as it is in cities – not a situation that you’d find in other countries, such as the USA for example.
As is the case in most countries, the taste will vary as you travel from place to place. Soft water invariably tastes better than that in hard water areas but nevertheless even the hard water is, without doubt, safe to drink.
In blind tastings, German tap water was deemed to be better than bottled mineral water.
As in all countries, the good quality of the water supply can be compromised by individual homes which have inferior plumbing systems but this is rare in Germany. Towards the end of the last century, many municipalities extensively tested older properties and replaced harmful lead pipes that could affect the households’ water quality.
Do bear in mind that wherever you are, the hygiene practices of the householder can affect the drinking water. For instance:
A dishcloth, which is hung over the jet regulator for drying, can significantly pollute the drinking water with germs and bacteria. Not infrequently, soiling is underestimated by everyday actions, which can even be harmful in the long term.
Just like people all over the world, Germans enjoy drinking bottled water. This isn’t because their own tap water isn’t good, it’s because carbonated water is much more popular than still water. In this instance, I agree. Carbonated water is much more refreshing.
This is by far a more European taste. Other countries (France, Italy etc.) also prefer sparkling water to still and this may stem from the fact that traditionally these countries had natural springs providing the water. Interestingly, many other countries have a far greater consumption of sweet carbonated soft drinks.
A survey conducted in 2017 found that 28% of Americans drink at least one soft fizzy drink every day. For Germans, the percentage was exactly half, at 14%.