Why exactly isn't the water safe here?

I’m trying to figure out exactly what makes the tap water unsafe in Taiwan.

My guesses are one of the following;

  1. It’s not treated properly.
  2. The water mains are corrupted.
  3. Problems 1 and 2 don’t exist but the issue is the individual building/residence itself.

Also, does anyone know what the water pipes are made of? I think in newer buildings it’s that grey u-pvc/c-pvc pipe? Also what are the new and water mains made of?

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It naaasty


Come on, it’s way better than the cocktails at W hotel.


Water here comes either from the waterworks or from a local well. The water from the wells is imho no drinking water and should be filtered and cooked before drinking.
Other than that the factors you listed are all true. Water pipes are usually PVC and glued together.

In Taipei certainly and elsewhere I guess, the water pressure is pretty low, and it has to be pumped up to a rooftop tank and then flows down at high pressure when needed. The tanks can build up bacteria which is why it needs to be boiled or filtered, primarily. I’m not sure if there’s higher levels of other contaminants then you might encounter overseas, normally. Filtering helps deal with that as well.


I think that I saw a thread here a couple of years back where the Government announced that Taipei Water was fit to drink without the need to boil or filter.

Then again, in many countries the old habits stay there “we always boil it”, so why change.

Mind you, as a kid in Australia, in regional areas, drinking water came from a Rainwater Tank out back, and that water of course came from the roof. We didnt die or even get stomach problems. Mind you, we had to replace one tank as it had developed a leak, and when we started to dismantle it we found that the bottom inch or so was just sludge - no doubt why the outlet pipe was a couple of inches up the side. Of course god knows what was in the roof gutters and coating the roof. Non drinking water came from the town water pipes, was not filtered - so we had 3 taps in the kitchen, hot, cold and drinking.


I think it’s safe microbially, but it may contain chemical containments. So I think it’s best filtered but not boiled.

Yes, as a kid, when we went to the “big smoke” (Melbourne) we noticed that the water tasted ‘different’. Of course the water there had Fluoride and whatever else in it, whereas we drank just pure rainwater (flavoured with what was on the roof!!).

When I lived in Austin I regularly drank tap water. But I kept having constant diarrhea, so it made me wonder if water in the US is safe to drink as well. It certainly wasn’t for Flint, MI.

As others have suggested, it’s a bit of an open question about whether the water is actually unsafe. “Everyone knows” the water is unsafe, but everyone also knows that drinking cold water is guaranteed to make you sick.

I think @tempogain’s on the right track: those rooftop tanks make me wary, and that’s why we’ve got a filter installed. I suspect the water is fine when it goes into those tanks, and in most cases is also fine when it leaves the tanks. But the home filters and/or boiling add an extra level of safety.


In our Apartment building its more than just the normal metal tank that you see everywhere. Ours are built in beside the top of the lift shafts and no doubt hold a few thousand litres. Every year we are given notice that the water will be off as they bring in men who use high pressure hoses to rinse the tanks out.

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PVC or other for cold water, stainless (maybe copper) for hot water. Water quality is mostly up to your building management, they have to clean the rooftop tanks a few times a year. Water mains are being replace with pretty good quality pipes at the moment to prevent leaking.


Hang on. Who said the water isn’t safe?

Not that I’d drink it myself. :rofl:

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Put in some whiskey!

I saw them add water mains. They’re heavy cast iron or steel pipes (no idea what, can’t really tell by looking at it).

But my shop doesn’t seem to have a water tower and is at the whims of the water pressure of the main. Sometimes they reduce them for whatever reason or are cut off because some idiot construction guys busted the pipe.

This is why people have those water tanks at the rooftop.

Sometimes they’re helped along in the bacterial build up…like this, , or this ! Hopefully not common occurrences, but who knows! Full RO system for me!

Since we are in the topic (kind of). Did anyone of you installed filters at home? Is it cheaper/more convenient to install and maintain one filter or use a water dispenser with chilling/heating function?


yeah, I got mine at carrefour. they’re really easy to install. just a hose that runs though the filters. it attaches to your tap. they offer free installation as well. I believe it was about 8000nt for my set up. I just fill jugs for the fridge to get cold water

How much does a RO setup cost?

More than drinking water, I need distilled water for my laser. But I can’t find anywhere that sells it in Taiwan. So I just use tap water. I hope things don’t explode (laser tubes require something like 30kv to fire, so that’s a LOT of voltage around water that could conduct electricity).

But I don’t want to buy a machine just so I can get tap water, but at the market the only water they sell is drinking water. I need distilled water.

that’s what I got. RO, it was about 8000nt
not sure if they have this company in Taipei. I live. in taichung. like I said, carrefour stocks this brand