Las Vegas is a popular destination for travelers, but should you drink the tap water? We’ve all taken a drink from the hotel bathroom faucet in the middle of the night during a trip. It usually tastes pretty bad, but it’s generally safe to drink. Can the same be said for Las Vegas?
Can you drink the tap water in Las Vegas, and is it safe?
The tap water in Las Vegas is completely safe to drink. Water from the faucet in Las Vegas meets or exceeds all local and national drinking water standards. Due to the hardness of the water, and a strong chlorine taste, many people prefer to drink filtered or bottled water while visiting the city.
Many people choose to drink bottled water while in Las Vegas, though they could safely drink tap water. It doesn’t taste very good and can have a very chlorine taste. But, if you need to, you can safely grab some drinking water from the tap in Las Vegas.
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Is the Tap Water in Las Vegas Really Safe to Drink?
The drinking water from the tap in Las Vegas is considered very safe to use. In fact, it reportedly exceeds the federal and state regulations on drinkable water. If you have any concerns about the water supply, you can download and read the Las Vegas Valley Water District’s annual report here. There is plenty of clean water in Sin City!
For pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, it’s recommended to consult with their doctors first before drinking any new city’s water. Most doctors won’t have any concerns, but it’s still better to check and make sure first.
Why Your Doctor May Suggest You Go for Bottled Water
If you’re pregnant or have a lowered immune system, your doctor may go ahead and suggest you stick to bottled water. Why?
It’s safer. While the risk of bacteria making it through the city purification system is very minimal, it is there. If you’re having a difficult or high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may suggest you stick to filtered or purified water from a bottle. Bottled water is considered safer.
If you have a disease that causes you to have a lowered immune system, your doctor may already have you on bottled water. Designer or filtered water is more expensive than city water because it’s carefully inspected for any contaminant that shouldn’t be present. It’s also a consistent product, so if you have a delicate stomach, it shouldn’t cause upset if you’re used to drinking one kind of water.
If your doctor is concerned about your health if you drink Las Vegas tap water, you definitely should stick to bottled water. The risk is very, very minimal, but if your doctor considers your condition precarious enough that he suggests you not drink it, make sure you do your best not to.
What to Do If You Don’t Want to Drink the Tap Water
Some people just don’t want to drink tap water. It can have a very chlorine taste to it, or they’re just used to their water from home. Also, Las Vegas has very hard water due to the high levels of calcium found in the area. Here are some ideas of what to do if you’d rather have water from a bottle than the sink.
Hotel Provided Bottled Water
Many hotels will provide a couple of water bottles in the mini-fridge for you before you check in. Depending on the hotel, you can request to have them replaced daily or more often for easy convenience.
You can also check at the front desk and see if they have any. Some hotels will have complimentary water bottles, while others will charge you for one or send you to a vending machine. If you’re looking for convenience, the hotel may be able to help you out.
However, you should check to see if bottled water comes with a fee. It’s common enough and not necessarily a bad thing, but you don’t want a surprise fee when you go to check out.
Buy Bottled Water
As a cheaper option, you can also try going out to the various tourist shops around your hotel. Pretty much everyone will have the basics – Las Vegas tee shirts, shot glass, chips, and bottled drinks.
Different shops will have different prices on water. Bigger bottles are usually cheaper per ounce, but they can be difficult to deal with. You can also purchase a reusable water bottle and refill that with a big bottle of water.
A lot of people will also sell cold water bottles on the street for a dollar. This is pretty common, and as long as the seal is still intact on the lid, you should feel safe drinking it.
Hotel Bars Have Water
If you’re staying in a hotel/casino, which is difficult not to do when staying in Las Vegas, they may offer free drinks for gamblers. While you sit and play solitaire on the bar top’s touch screens or pull the slot machine lever, people are more than happy to keep you filled up on liquid.
If you order water, you may end up with tap water, so try ordering a club soda or tonic water. If you’d like some flavor, go ahead and get whatever else is on the menu. Many places even offer free beverages while you’re playing. If you stick to the penny slots, you won’t lose much money, and you can keep yourself hydrated.
And besides, gambling is one of Las Vegas’s biggest draws! Why go if not to pull at least one slot lever to score a free drink?
Even if you don’t want to gamble, you can most likely order a club soda or tonic water from the bar for free. Many places will offer free soda and other flavored beverages as well. Make sure and take advantage of these if you’re trying to avoid tap water and keep costs lower.
Hotel Ice Machines
It’s late, you’re tired, you don’t want to go back downstairs, and you definitely don’t want to go back out onto the Strip to find a store selling bottled water. You’re doomed to tap water at that point. Or are you?
Once in high school, on a school trip, my friends and I went on a late-night search for a vending machine. Someone in our group regularly refused to drink the tap water, so we’d been buying her bottles of water all day. She finished the last one we had right before we got to the motel, so we decided to just buy one from a vending machine.
Of course, it was our luck that the motel didn’t have any vending machines. We were debating facing some scary looking guys lingering by the gas station across the street when finally, someone had a good idea. Ice machines are filtered.
You may still be able to taste the ‘city’s flavor’ in the melted ice, as you may expect. But as a rule of thumb, ice machine water is purer than straight out of the tap. If you’re ever in a bind, consider finding an ice machine.
Consider a Personal Water Filtration System
The final option you may want to consider is to bring along a personal travel water filter like this one from LifeStraw on Amazon.com. It filters bacteria, parasites, chemicals, and microplastics. It’s almost as good as having a reverse osmosis system, and it’s guaranteed to provide good-tasting Las Vegas water!
Water bottles like this also have a chamber filled with activated carbon that will remove chlorine and other things that make the water taste bad. It’s like having your own portable water treatment system. It’s also pretty small and easy to pack, so it’s easy to have safe drinking water anywhere you go.
Which Cities in America Should You Not Drink Tap Water in?
If Las Vegas is safe to drink the water in, is anywhere dangerous? Not in America. Each American city’s public water system is thoroughly tested and cleaned to meet every local and national standard health guideline, leaving a very small chance that any bacteria could make its way through to you.
If you make your way to another country, that’s when you should be concerned about poor water quality and lack of clean drinking water. In many nations, you can’t drink the water. Mexico is the most famous, but the rule extends to most of South America. Again, check with your doctor before you make any trips if you are pregnant or have a low immune system. If you’re unsure about a country, it’s better to ask and be safe.
Many people experience stomach upset when traveling anywhere new. While tap water is cleaned for bad bacteria, there are still benign bacteria unique to each city in their water supply. The different bacteria made cause your stomach some pain or nausea. These don’t necessarily mean you’ve contracted an illness, you’re probably just adjusting.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), passed by Congress in 1974, tasked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set specific standards for drinking water across the United States. The EPA sets the standards and monitors the results, while it is up to the specific states and local water authorities to make sure that water sources are of sufficient quality.
No city in America has tap water that’s considered unsafe to drink, or if they do, it will be heavily advertised so you will know not to drink the water.
Las Vegas Water FAQ
Where does Las Vegas get its water?
Las Vegas gets the majority of its water from the Colorado River. The river is replenished by annual snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains and is held in Lake Mead. The remaining water is groundwater that is pumped from local wells.
How bad is Vegas water?
Las Vegas tap water meets or exceeds all standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The water in Las Vegas, however, is considered very hard due to the high level of dissolved calcium. Many homeowners and hotels use a water softener to reduce the hardness.
Is tap water safe in Southern Nevada?
Tap water in southern Nevada is safe to drink. Drinking water from the faucet exceeds or meets all federal safe water standards. The water in southern Nevada is tested frequently and thoroughly and a public water quality report is made available annually.