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Is Cape Town Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 10:40 am, May 28, 2021

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Cape Town?

Yes, tap water is drinkable.

Tap Safe includes data from many publicly available sources, including the WHO (World Health Organization), CDC (Center for Disease Control), and user submitted databases, but unfortunately there's not enough data about Cape Town.

To see user submitted ratings of the water quality for South Africa, see the "User Submitted Ratings" box on this page.

The municipality of Cape Town in South Africa has some of the safest tap water in the world. They closely monitor the water quality by analyzing large numbers of water samples, as required by the South African National Standards (SANS) regulations. To ensure the excellent quality of tap water, the Scientific Services Laboratory tests almost 6000 samples of water each year. They collect Cape Town drinking water and perform tests from sampling points throughout the water system. Based on the reported results, the municipal water supply remains safe to drink.

Cape Town, South Africa

During the 2019 dry season, which was harsher than it had been in years, Cape Town residents noticed a change in water quality. They reported tasting a robust earthy flavor in their tap water. After investigations were carried out by South Africa’s water experts, they reassured people that there was nothing to worry about.

The raw water supply had large amounts of geosmin. A natural organic compound that grows in the water when new rainfalls break a dry spell. The human palate is very sensitive to this chemical. It can be distinguished in the smallest concentrations, even as little as a few parts per trillion liters of water. The compound also expands during hot weather.

Source of Water in Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town relies on rainwater that is collected by the Western Cape Water Supply System for most of its water. The majority (95%) of water comes from the regional, integrated surface water system which is managed by the national Department of Water and SanitationRainfed dams are a cheaper alternative to sources like groundwater, reused water, and desalinated water. Because it is more affordable, the City will continue and rely on rainfed dams for most of its water supply. Cape Town also invests in alternative sources of water to at least cover one-fourth of the City’s needs.

The drinking water in Cape Town is remarkably high quality. This is a result of a variety of treatment processes and because most of the water consumed in Cape Town is collected from unpolluted mountain catchments and aquifersCape Town water complies with the strict guidelines as specified in the South African National Standards (SANS 241:2015) for drinking water. They have won multiple Blue Drop awards from the Department of Water and Sanitation for its water quality.

The City of Cape Town has 12 treatment plants and collectively these plants provide a treatment capacity of approximately 1,600 Ml per day. Before the introduction of water treatment, Cape Town water was tea-colored because of high concentrations of plant matter. More severe problems included the build-up of sediment in the pipelines, which caused blockages, and the water’s high acidity levels, which corroded pipes and valves.

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What do people in Cape Town think about the tap water?

Tap water is drinkable. However, at the time of research, severe drought has enforced water restrictions so buying drinking water is recommended.

Is Cape Town Tap Water Safe To Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.03 in USD (1.5-liter)


Cape Town tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 27% Low
  • Water Pollution 50% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 73% High
  • Water Quality 50% Moderate

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Cape Town, measured on a scale from 0% (lowest) to 100% (highest).

Related FAQS


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

Traveler's Notes

Tap water is drinkable. However, at the time of research, severe drought has enforced water restrictions so buying drinking water is recommended.

Current Weather in Cape Town


Some of the Local Convenience Stores in Cape Town

Pick n Pay Convenience Store
Pick n Pay
  • J&M Famous Biltong
  • Seven Penguins
  • Convenience Store
  • FreshStop at Caltex Winch Motors
  • Pick n Pay Camps Bay
  • Engen Quick Shop
  • Clyde Grocers Corner Shop
  • Parker's Store
  • city limits
  • Woolworths Foodstop
  • Total
  • Chadash Motors BP

Estimated Price of Bottled Water

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