Tap Water Safety in Malawi

Last Update9:35 pm, May 8, 2020

The estimated price of bottled water

N/A in USD (1.5-liter)

Can you drink the tap water in Malawi?

The US Center for Disease Control's travel advisory recommends avoiding tap water and drinking bottled or disinfected water in Malawi (source). Like all countries though, water accessibility, sanitation, and treatment vary widely from location to location, so we encourage looking for specific city information.

What do people in Malawi think about the tap water?

Don’t drink tap water unless it has been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected (such as with iodine tablets). Don’t drink from streams, rivers, and lakes. It’s also best to avoid drinking from pumps, boreholes, and wells; some bring pure water to the surface, but the presence of animals can contaminate supplies. Bottled water is widely available, except in very remote areas, where you should carry a filter or purification tablets.

Wikitravel

Traditional Malawian food revolves around one staple, maize, served in one form, nsima (n'SEE-ma). Nsima is basically a type of thick porridge, rolled into balls with your right hand and dipped into a variety of stews known as relishes. Those who can afford them eat relishes of beef, chicken or fish, but the many who can't make do with beans, tiny dried fish (usipa), pumpkin leaves (chibwabwa) and other vegetables. At breakfast, nsima can be served watered down into a soup, maybe with a little sugar. Local restaurants will serve nsima and relish for less than MWK2000 (USD3).
Tap water in major cities like Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu is generally safe. Ask at the lodge/house you're at. Some travellers with weaker stomachs may be advised to avoid this drinking water. Bottled water is plentiful in all the major shops.

How do People In Malawi Rate The Tap Water?

Travellers and residents of Malawi 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 60% High
  • Water Pollution 75% High
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 40% Moderate
  • Water Quality 25% Low

Reminder

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


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