Layer 1

Is Hong Kong Tap Water Safe To Drink?

Yes! Generally Safe to Drink*

LAST UPDATED: 5:58 pm, December 28, 2021

Table of Contents

Can You Drink Tap Water in Hong Kong?

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 Hong Kong.

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

Water Supplies Department announces that Hong Kong possesses one of the safest water supplies in the world. However, some part of the city and buildings are old that uses unlined galvanized steel pipes that prone to rust. Since 1995 these types of pipes is banned in new constructions. There are still old plumbing present and might be unsafe to drink because water runs through the rusted pipes.

At your hotel, you may see a little sign by the sink or faucet, that indicates that the water is not safe.

Hong Kong Tap Water

Hong Kong tap water has the highest level of contamination found anywhere in the world. This is according to an investigation by the Environmental Monitoring Service of Hong Kong (EMSOH). The report said that almost one in every five homes had one or more samples of E. coli, nitrate and trihalomethanes (THMs) in their tap water. The highest levels were found in apartments. Surprisingly, the report also stated that the majority of samples came from retail outlets, restaurants and offices.

The report said that the main cause for the high E. coli and THMs levels was the improper treatment and storage of tap water. According to the World Health Organization, the main causes of E. coli are over-filtration, improper treatment, runoff, and inadequate storage. These issues are usually associated with industrial facilities and they tend to occur when there is a shortage of surface water in a city.

The Hong Kong government responded quickly to the issue. It introduced tough regulations on how to treat the water. They also went on a public awareness campaign, telling citizens to be more responsible when it comes to water usage. Many people were angered by the fact that the water industry went to all the trouble to test the water for contamination, only to find insignificant levels. Environmentalists decried the move as covering up the problem. They called for a serious change in the way water is treated and stored, demanding better standards for the water coming into the city’s taps.

Source of Water in Hong Kong

Hong Kong has two primary sources of water. Mainly rainfall from natural mountain catchments, and by pipeline supply from Guangdong Province. Hong Kong built several inland dams, as well as cisterns found at the top of hills. But with the growing population of Hong Kong, a shortage of natural storage reservoir sites led to the development of Hong Kong’s premier ‘reservoir in the sea’ at Plover Cove – the Plover Cove Reservoir.

Hong Kong Drinking Water

Hong Kong drinking water has its share of ups and downs. Although the economy is booming, pollution levels have not yet reached the dangerous levels of China. The government has been working hard to improve the condition of Hong Kong’s drinking water. A recent study by the Hong Kong Government showed that most tap water in Hong Kong contains unhealthy chemicals, bacteria and toxins. These toxins can cause a variety of serious illnesses such as liver failure, cancer, arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease. Some even pose a serious threat to our overall health as they contribute to the growth of malignant tumors.

Hong Kong’s drinking water is heavily contaminated with bacteria and micro-organisms, including carcinogens, pesticides and antibiotic drugs. The contamination is so severe that the World Health Organization has designated Hong Kong as the region with the highest rate of exposure to hazardous waste materials. The contaminated tap water is not safe for consumption. Luckily, there are many water purification devices available on the market to help you get clean, purified water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

Water is an essential element that we all need to survive, no matter where we live. It is also a major environmental issue in developing countries, given that most people do not drink safe water and some water sources are polluted beyond repair. Hong Kong’s drinking water must be better regulated to protect the general public.

Hong Kong Water Quality

It is not easy to find a comprehensive Hong Kong drinking water guide, because in spite of its central location and multi-cultural population, the people of Hong Kong are typically quite secretive about their water issues. Only the most serious health threats are usually publicized – such as cancer and liver diseases, which unfortunately are very common in the densely populated area. A good guide should explain what every chemical is, how it works, and what its effects are when it is consumed. Unfortunately, many Hong Kong drinking water guides are incomplete and fail to address this critical issue. For example, most fail to discuss drugs found in the city’s water supply.

Hong Kong is among the countries with the highest instances of drug presence in its water supplies. According to a study conducted in 2021, the drug residue in water was found to be more dangerous than lead. The researchers recommended that all drugs be removed from household water, to reduce the risks of various health problems, such as cancer and nervous disorders. However, this recommendation has not been followed. There are still traces of drugs in most household water, and most experts believe that they could remain in the water for decades.

The drinking water quality in Hong Kong is still poor, despite the fact that the overall health condition is much better than most countries. The main reason for this is that Hong Kong’s water resources are not very well developed, and many companies have failed to invest in the upkeep of the city’s water infrastructure. As a consequence, many factories, industries and even residences make use of untreated raw water, which is highly dangerous. However, if you buy bottled water or other water products from reputed companies, you will be able to avoid this serious problem.

Hong Kong Drinking Water Supply

Hong Kong’s drinking water supply is treated and controlled by the Hong Kong government. The whole of Hong Kong is covered under a single water management board called the Hong Kong Water Board. The entire water system was brought under the board’s control in August 1980. All the water resources of Hong Kong are studied and provided with the correct amount of water that is needed for human consumption. Every water resource has its own plan on how to deal with it. If there is any problem or violation of the regulations, the water supply will be suspended temporarily or even terminated altogether.

The whole water system is powered by a number of different methods including water engines, power pumps, and the hydro-electric generators. Although each of these methods provides energy to the system, the most efficient way to generate energy for the whole system is by using a water engine. A water engine consists of a pump, a cylinder, and a rotor. As the rotor turns, this forces a jet of water into the cylinder, which then discharges to the other end. This process of hydroelectricity provides the power for the entire water system.

With all this being said, you may ask yourself, what is my role in this? Your role is important! You are responsible for carrying out the necessary water supply checks and maintenance on the water system. You are also responsible for the monitoring and updating of the systems and of course, enforcing the rules! The more you learn about the system, the easier it will be for you to get involved and help keep the water clean and healthy!

Hong Kong Bottled Water

Hong Kong bottled water is just like the bottled water of any other part of the world. This is not surprising, considering that Hong Kong is a Special administrative area in China, which means that the local population is subjected to different kinds of restrictions and regulations by the government in China than the citizens of many other countries. Bottled water is a convenient way of carrying around a bottle of water that can be locked and kept safe at the right temperature for as long as it is inside the bottle. There are plenty of companies, both online and offline in Hong Kong that are providing bottled water for people. Hong Kong bottled water is also quite easy to find. In fact, there are more places selling bottled water in Hong Kong than there are for ice cream!

Water is something that people need on a daily basis. It is supposed to keep us healthy, but it has been shown that too much of it, such as what we get from bottled water containers in Hong Kong, can make us unhealthy. It has been proven that bottled water, when consumed daily causes cancer and several other illnesses, such as kidney stones, kidney failure, liver failure, and osteoporosis. These illnesses are caused by the toxic substances that are often used to make the bottles of Hong Kong bottled water, and they cannot be put off without harming the human body in any way. Therefore, it is extremely important that we know where our bottles of bottled water are going and who is taking care of them!

It is also very important that the bottles of Hong Kong bottled water are kept clean, so that people drinking the water will not get sick or become ill from the chemicals that are inside the bottles. Hong Kong bottled water companies are required to ensure that their water is clean enough to drink, and this is often done through disinfection, although some companies use ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria and germs in the water. However, whatever is used to make the bottles of Hong Kong water must be approved by the Health Department before being marketed. You should check with your local government offices in Hong Kong to find out more about the regulations for bottled water companies in Hong Kong.

What do people in Hong Kong think about the tap water?

Hong Kong tap water conforms to World Health Organization standards and is considered safe to drink, though many locals prefer bottled for reasons of flavour and prestige.


Tap water in Hong Kong has been proven to be drinkable, although most of the local people still prefer to boil and chill their drinking water when it is taken from the tap. The official advice from the Water Board is that the water is perfectly safe to drink unless you are living in an old building with outdated plumbing and poorly maintained water tanks. Bottled water is strongly recommended by locals but remember that Hong Kong's landfill sites are filling up fast and plastic bottles are a major environmental problem, so use recycling bins where provided.

Is Hong Kong Tap Water Safe To Drink? Tap water & safety quality

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.77 in USD (1.5-liter)


Hong Kong tap water
  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 35% Low
  • Water Pollution 53% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 65% High
  • Water Quality 47% Moderate

The above data is comprised of subjective, user submitted opinions about the water quality and pollution in Hong Kong, 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

Traveller's Notes

Hong Kong tap water conforms to World Health Organization standards and is considered safe to drink, though many locals prefer bottled for reasons of flavour and prestige.

Current Weather in Hong Kong


Some of the Convenience Stores in HONG KONG

Circle K Convenience Store
Circle K Convenience Store
  • 7-Eleven
  • Circle K
  • OK便利店
  • JustGreen Organic Convenience Store
  • Watsons

Bottled Water Estimated Price

Layer 1
Layer 1
Layer 1
Layer 1