Whether you’re living in Barcelona, planning to move to the city, or just visiting for a few days, you’re probably wondering about the city’s water quality and whether or not it’s safe to drink the tap water. Here’s a look at the water quality in Barcelona to help you make the decision between stocking up on bottled water or drinking straight from the tap.
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Where does Barcelona’s water come from?
The first thing to consider when determining water quality in any city is the water’s source. In Barcelona, the city main tap water supply comes from two rivers: the Ter and the Llobregat. The Llobregat, which supplies the city with the majority of its water, has very high levels of minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
Because the river passes through a very salty region northwest of Barcelona near the town of Súria, the water fro the Llobregat tastes much better in areas before the river reaches Súria. Afterwards, it takes on a very salty taste. Barcelona does have desalinization plants, but they can only handle about 20% of the city’s water demand and are very expensive to operate. The bad taste of the water in Barcelona comes from the high salt levels, the osmosis process the water goes through to remove some of the salt, and the high levels of chlorine used to protect it from contamination.
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Is it safe to drink?
The water in Barcelona might not be the best tasting in the world, but according to the General de Sanidad and the local water company in Barcelona, Aigües de Barcelona, the water in Barcelona is perfectly safe to drink. The city water meets all international health standards, including those of the EU and WHO. There is no scientific research that shows the tap water in Barcelona could make you sick.
Bottled or tap?
Ultimately, the decision between bottled water and tap water is entirely up to you. While the tap water in Barcelona is absolutely safe to drink, it’s true that bottled water tastes much better. Bottled water has its disadvantages too, of course, including the additional cost and the consequence of even more plastic waste in the environment. There are, however, other options such as purchasing a water filter for your home, which can actually be quite affordable compared to always buying bottled water.
Whatever your decision, the most important thing is knowing where your water comes from and what kind of processes it goes through before reaching your glass in order to determine the best choice for you.
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