Can you drink the water in Jordan?

Something you’ll notice when you come to Jordan is that no one is drinking water from the tap (this means a LOT of plastic bottles in a city with no municipal recycling). When I’ve asked around, everyone says it is definitely NOT safe to drink. However, everyone is fine with brushing their teeth with it and washing their fruits and veggies, etc. in it. So I decided to investigate a bit more about how safe the water is for drinking purposes, is it really all that bad that people believe it to be?

water tanks rooftops amman
rooftop water tanks are essential in Jordan

Water Scarcity

To begin with, Jordan’s water supply is extremely scarce. As one of the aridest countries in the world, the per capita water supply is 200m3 per year, whereas the global average is around 600m3 (Source).

drought-stricken-land jordan

Despite this severe water scarcity, more than 97% of Jordanian have access to an improved water source, making it one of the highest rates in the MENA region (Source).

Water Quality

But let’s get back to the original question – is it safe to drink the tap water in Jordan?

drink water in jordan

The short answer – According to the World Health Organization’s drinking water guidelines; Yes.

The more detailed answer is the following – Drinking water quality in Jordan is governed by Jordanian Standard 286 of 2008, which is based on the World Health Organization (WHO) drinking water guidelines. Jordan’s standards were modified in 2008 and previously in 2001 after a major drinking water pollution outbreak occurred in Amman in the summer of 1998 due to a malfunction of the capital’s major drinking water treatment plant.

A 2005 study showed that different potable water sources across four governorates showed that drinking water quality was in compliance with national physiochemical standards. And a study in 2011 by the Jordanian Government showed that more than 90% of samples taken at house water storage tanks in three Amman distribution zones (Rasheed, Kharabsheh, and Khalda) were in compliance with the recommendations of the WHO Drinking Water Guidelines.

Eco-Friendly Options For Drinking Water

To sum it all up, the tap water is apparently fine to drink if you wish, but here are some other ways that you can still minimize your impact on the environment if you don’t wish to drink directly from the tap:

save plastic bottles amman
Refillable Nestle 18.9L jug (left). Aquafina jug is NOT refillable (right)
  • Clara Water refillable 15L glass bottles
  • buy refillable jugs at the supermarket and attach a pump to it (ex. image above – Nestle 18.9 liter jug)
  • install an RO (reverse osmosis) filter at home
  • boil tap water before use
  • use a pitcher water filter (ex. Brita filter)

16 thoughts on “Can you drink the water in Jordan?

  1. Our problem not exactly with tap water or distribution system or others ;
    It just the hole which called ( trust me )


  2. A question: what about water directly from the tap? Stored water on the roof may be in compliance, but I’m wondering about old pipes/household piping infrastructure that may contaminate tap water.


    1. I’m not an expert on this. I use tap water when I cook or boil for tea. I would recommend a filter though just in case.


  3. As part of my professional work, I few weeks ago prepared a short report on water and wastewater situation in Jordan! It seems the water quality is not such all bad people think! But old piping system and improper storage might be factors deteriorating the water quality! As water expert, i drunk and coocked directly from the tap water! So using for a while and will leave Jordan soon safely.


      1. Hey Chelsea, you are welcome. unfortunately, it is internal docs for our organization and not published.


  4. I believe water is “safe” to drink, but people don’t normally drink it directly because of its smell and due to water being so hard. I agree if you install an RO filter, you’d likely be on the safer side.


    1. Many different reasons, but apparently it is OK to drink. But some people don’t want to take a “risk” due to contamination issues of the past. Jordan is one of the most water-scarce countries in the world and I guess it doesn’t inspire trust in the water quality…


  5. Is there any contaminates directly in the Jordan River? Can one take some sand and water from it and bring it back to another country for a souvenir in a small contained container 1 to 3 ounces?


  6. Hi all,
    The water quality delivered in Amman / Jordan distribution network is wholesome and safe to drink, the permissible levels of all parameters Physical, Chemical, Heavy metals, Bacteriological, Toxicities and or pesticides are all within the Jordan water quality regulation’s permissible levels which are all based on WHO’s water quality regulations; the issue is the risks taking place in the delivery process till reaching your tap, including:
    1- Because water is not regularly pumped to your areas, 2 days a week the interruption of pumping with the nature of uphill and down the valley pumping network surges occur, causing high pressure and or vacuum situations, with these cases, and having pipes berried underground some passing in polluted areas including agricultural areas where fertilizers and or pesticides or bacterial / sewage spills around the running pipes, pipes may be corroded and or punctured or of a type with spigot joint type “having a joint seal that will prevent water out under pressure, but may allow contamination to get in under vacuum” in this case the network may become polluted and admits pollution to seep into the network. Regular water sampling ensure testing for such cases.
    2- due to such surges in water pumping, “High pressure and vacuum” wear & tear takes place including the erosion in pipes materials, such as in cement lining and or corrosion, these particles do mix in the stream and some suspends while others dissolve casing accumulation of scales and coloring, some physical changes.
    3- Once water reaches the household tanks, most of the water storage tanks which people are heavily rely on, are not safe, corroded or open to accumulate dust, germs, bacteria, exposed to birds, and other living creatures, not just some are close to septic tanks and having pollution directly in contact with.

    Above factors are among considerable issues to drinking water quality. the RO with 5 and or 6 filtration stages may be a solution, but still its not practical, it consumes and rejects 3-4 times amount of wasted water for each single amount produced, besides it removes all salts from water, tap TDS is around 350ppm, the RO removes it down to 30PPM, these salted need to be within even 500PPM.

    My suggestion is to use a system consisting of:
    1) 5 Mic sediment filter
    2) Activated Carbon filter to remove taste and odor including Chlorine, output water shall be for direct use but not for storage.
    3) A UV disinfectant to kill all living particles
    4) A post treatment stage including another Sediment Filter to remove all micro particles either a 1 Micron or a Micro-filter, this will bring results to even having a good and trustful drinking water such as those good for pharmaceutical and food industries.

    Wishing good health to all.
    Bassam Ahram


  7. Can’t agree with you. Any tap water can’t be safe to drink because they are using chlorine as disinfectant, and chlorine is not what you need in healthy water. Moreover tap water in Amman has green residues in it. What is this exactly I don’t know maybe cyanobacteriae or copper but definitely doesn’t worth to drink directly from tap.


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