One of the first questions many seasoned travellers, or potential expats, will ask before coming to Moscow is ‘can you drink Moscow tap water’? As you will likely know, in many places around the world it is ill advised to drink water straight from the tap. In the case of Moscow, the answer to the question of water safety is not a simple yes or no – it is the subject of significant debate.
The short answer is that yes, you can drink the water. I have personally had water straight from the tap on many occasions and I am not dead. Many others who I know, or have interacted with online are more than happy with what comes direct from the tap. In fact, there must be may thousands of Muscovites on low salaries who drink the water daily, as for many buying bottled water all the time would blow the budget. But just because it wont kill you, that does not mean that it is advisable to drink the water long term.
The somewhat longer answer is that while the water has been tested safe at the treatment plants, the many kilometres of ageing pipes under the city are not reliable and can lead to contamination. This view point is backed up by the strange colour the tap water sometimes takes on and the unpalatable taste (when compared to bottled alternatives).
As you can see, there is no consensus on whether or not you can or should drink Moscow tap water. In fact, you may be even further from a direct answer than before. So I will offer my personal opinion of how to deal with drinking water in Moscow.
Being here for a short time, I would stick to bottled water for drinking, as you will probably be provided it in your hotel anyway. However, don’t be afraid to brush your teeth with the tap water, use it in the kettle for a cup of tea or be afraid of salads rinsed with tap water. However, if you are here on a budget or want to avoid plastic, don’t hesitate to drink Moscow tap water.
Living in Moscow longer term will mean that relying on bottled water is not really a feasible option. Not only is it annoying to lug bottles home all the time (or get them delivered), it really is not environmentally friendly to use so much plastic. I would suggest a filter on your tap or a filter jug and if you are overly concerned, boil your drinking water as well.
So can you drink the tap water in Moscow? Ultimately, it is up to you. I am sure there are many differing opinions out there, so have your say in the comments section below!