Is it Safe to Drink the Water in Israel?
As a general rule, wherever you are in the world you should be drinking at least two liters of water today but when it comes to visiting Israel in the summer, you need to be consuming water all the time, even when you don’t think you need it!
We’re here to answer all your questions about the water supply in Israel - where does it come from, what’s in it, is it safe to drink, and plenty more besides. The good news is that being a modern country with an excellent healthcare system, we don’t think you’re going to have too many problems staying healthy as long as you just keep sipping!
Is the water in Israel safe to drink?
One of the first things we’re usually asked by people who book tours to Israel with us is “Is the tap water safe to drink?” and we’re pleased to announce the answer is a resounding “yes.”
Israel's water is superb, even tap water.
Wherever you go in the country, you can be assured that tap water in a restaurant, and water from public fountains found in big cities is perfectly safe. You can also totally trust on-site water coolers whether you're taking a day trip in Jerusalem, visiting northern Israel, touring Masada and the Dead Sea, or any other tourist favorite spots.
And one tip we always give our clients is to keep filling up your bottle, whenever you have the opportunity. Whether you’ve brought your own thermos flask from home or are just refilling from a plastic bottle you purchased here, it’s completely free.
How much is a bottle of water in Israel?
If you’re popping into a corner store or kiosk for a small bottle of water (500 ml), expect to pay around 6-8 NIS. A larger bottle may cost around 8-10 NIS, but if you go to supermarkets and buy in bulk (i.e. a pack of six, containing 1.5 liters) the cost is much more reasonable - between 10-12 NIS. This works out at less than 2 NIS a bottle.
The bottle with you, fill it up later
Of course, lugging around large bottles is a bit inconvenient but it’s certainly cost-effective. Also, bear in mind that locally-produced water is cheaper than anything imported, and mineral water will set you back a little more than still water.
Still, heading to one of Israel’s supermarkets is probably your best bet if you don’t want to spend a fortune.
What’s the Israeli water supply like?
Israel has its share of world-famous scientists and has developed an extremely advanced water filtration system in the last sixty years.
In 1962, Amiad Filtration Systems was established and from then until now has created all kinds of water solutions (many that other countries across the world have adopted), ranging from filters for the home to huge projects for city authorities and industry.
You can trust local water quality, for yourself and your family
This, to some degree, accounts for Israel’s success in agricultural endeavors (think of the cherry tomato, the Galila melon, and Angello, the seedless bell pepper. In fact, Israel’s government is so committed to agriculture development, that whether you’re traveling up in the Jordan Valley or down in the Negev desert (both particularly hot regions) you’ll see farms and greenhouses
Where does Israel get its water?
There are three sources in Israel from which water can be drawn - groundwater pumping (from the mountains and coastal regions). surface water (from the Sea of Galilee, and streams and springs in national parks in northern Israel) and from desalination projects in the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea.
Today, about 75% of Israel’s drinking water is drawn and then desalinated from the Mediterranean Sea. There is also a project in place (which should be up and running this year) where Israel will begin channeling desalinated water into the Sea of Galilee (the country’s largest freshwater lake and home to an emergency water store).
The Jordan River has great water as well!
Not only will this not damage the current ecosystem, it will even aid it by keeping water levels stable!
And if you want an example of how advanced Israel is in terms of transforming water for economic gain, just look at the figures - in the USA, only 4% of wastewater is reused for agricultural purposes but in Israel, it is almost 90%.
How strict are the water quality regulations?
More good news - the Ministry of Health has responsibility for ensuring the water in Israel is of good quality so that the public can drink it safely, all year round and they take this matter seriously!
Israel’s regulations about water are extremely advanced, with regulations updated every few years - they deal with treatment facilities, quality tests at the water source, and how the supply systems are working. So fear not, for you are in good hands.
What is the Drinking Age in Israel?
Israel has great water, but also wonderful local Beer. The minimum drinking age in Israel is 18, although some bars and nightclubs may not allow entrance to those under the age of 21-25 (always bring ID with you, if you’re going out for a night on the town).
Wine, beer, and hard liquor are available freely in Israel although there are laws about where and when you can consume it (for instance, you cannot drink alcohol in public between 11 pm and 7 am). Technically, this means that if you’re sitting on one of Israel’s best beaches with a bottle of beer or wine, after midnight, the police could ask you to pour it away - in practice, this is not common though.
Moreover, Israel is very Mediterranean in its drinking culture i.e. people will drink moderately throughout the evening, and avoid getting hopelessly drunk. This moderation is also aided by the fact that alcohol is quite expensive to purchase, both over the counter and in fashionable bars in Tel Aviv!
Try the local Beers when you get the chance
Established in the 1990s, Bein Harim has been offering organized packages, day trips, and privately-guided tours all over Israel (and, more recently, to Petra and Wadi Rum in Jordan) for over 25 years and with our experienced and qualified guides and professional team, promise to make your visit here one you’ll never forget.
For more information about the tours we offer, feel free to contact us by email or phone and if you’re curious about our country, take a look at our blog, where we talk about all aspects of life in Israel.