Is San Francisco Tap Water Safe to Drink?

Last Update1:57 am, October 7, 2020

The estimated price of bottled water

$1.74 in USD (1.5-liter)

Can You Drink Tap Water in San Francisco?

Yes, tap water is drinkable.

There was no general information available in WHO data about safely managed drinking water in California. You may check the rate of travelers and residents of San Francisco water quality.

What do people in San Francisco think about the tap water?

The city’s tap water is not only drinkable but of excellent quality: it’s straight from Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the High Sierra mountains of Yosemite National Park.

What Do People In California Think About The Tap Water?

Travelers and residents of California have rated the water quality and pollution as follows, according to subjective survey data. A score of 100% is considered very high, and a score of 0% is very low. Please be cautious that "moderate to very high" water pollution is bad and the higher the rate of water quality the better.

Tap water ratings

  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 27% Low
  • Water Pollution 40% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 73% High
  • Water Quality 60% High


San Francisco City Water System

EWG's drinking water quality report shows results of tests conducted by the water utility and provided to the Environmental Working Group by the California State Water Resources Control Board, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO). For the latest quarter assessed by the U.S. EPA (January 2019 - March 2019), tap water provided by this water utility was in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

Utility details

  • Serves: 800000
  • Data available: 2012-2017
  • Data Source: Purchased surface water
  • Total: 8

Contaminants That Exceed Guidelines

  • Chromium (hexavalent)
  • Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Other Detected Contaminants

  • Aluminum
  • Chlorate
  • Fluoride
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5)
  • Strontium
  • Vanadium


Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources

The tap water in San Francisco, California, is safe to drink and one of the best in tasting tap water in the U.S. Delicious tap water costs less than half a penny per gallon, is quality examined over 100,000 times a year, and goes straight to your tap. Tap water is also extremely regulated by the EPA and beyond state and local water quality standards.

San Francisco Tap Water
Golden Gate Bridge, SF

Presently there is a further reason to think outside of the bottle. According to San Francisco food authorities, San Francisco’s tap water tastes excellent than bottled water. In a current taste test administered by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), Arrowhead bottled water was recognized by four of the five tasters as inferior. A San Francisco Chronicle, a food writer, described the Arrowhead water as “flat.”

Source of Water in San Francisco, California

San Francisco tap water comes from surface water and a few percentages on groundwater. San Francisco’s source of water originates from the Tuolumne River and collected in the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Water from the Hetch Hetchy enriched with water from local watersheds such as the Alameda, Peninsula, San Andreas, and Pilarcitos reservoirs. Emergency supplies include Lake Eleanor, Lake Cherry, and streams of the Lower Cherry Aqueduct, Early Intake Reservoir, and Tuolumne River.

Avoiding bottled water can benefit the environment in many ways. About 85 percent of San Francisco’s tap water is produced by gravity from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir, supplied by Sierra snowmelt, its carbon footprint is much smaller compared to the energy needed to create and transport bottled water. Mentioned to Jue, bottled water does 2,000 more power to create than tap water. Bottled water also leaves a wake of waste. Singly in California, one billion plastic water bottles end up in landfills each year. It will take 1,000 years to biodegrade plastic bottles.

Current Weather in San Francisco


Some of the Local Convenience Stores in San Francisco

Loop Convenience Store
Loop Convenience Store
  • Hill Top General Store
  • City Oasis
  • 7-Eleven
  • Russell’s Convenience
  • Loop
  • Kwik & Convenient
  • Dave’s Food Store
  • Gino’s Grocery Co
  • Sun Valley Grocery
  • Star Convenience
  • Potrero Market and Deli
  • Hayes Market
  • ExtraMile
  • Uni-Mart

Estimated Price of Bottled Water


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