Water: Is it safe to drink?

Last updated: 22 February 2022


Water is vital for all our lives and drinking adequate amounts of safe water will contribute to good health. Every day, every person needs access to water not only to drink but also for personal hygiene.

People are travelling more often and more widely than ever before, both for work and for pleasure. This means they are often faced with environments that they are unfamiliar with. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diarrhoea kills around 525 000 children under five each year as a result of unsafe drinking water, sanitation and hand hygiene.


Wherever you are in the world, it is important to know how to access clean water.

  • Assess and understand the risks of exposure at your destination: We analyse and evaluate any location you are sending your employees to and recommend measures that help mitigate risks.

  • Educate your travellers before they depart: Through our specialist medical information and education programmes, we help you to prepare your travellers for the local situation as well as giving advice on measures to take should the situation deteriorate.

  • Around the clock access for your travellers to specific local advice: Our qualified doctors and security specialists are there for your employees, no matter what, where or when.

Water-related diseases include:

  • Diseases caused by bacteria in drinking water, like cholera and typhoid
  • Diseases caused when viruses, such as hepatitis A, contaminate drinking water
  • Diarrheal diseases, such as amoebic dysentery
  • Schistosomiasis, a parasitic infection you can get by swimming or bathing in fresh water contaminated with parasites
  • Malaria, dengue and other diseases are spread by mosquitoes that breed in stagnant water
  • Diseases such as legionella, where bacteria are spread by contaminated water droplets.

How to make sure water is safe to drink

The following methods can be used to kill or remove microorganisms:
  • Boiling

  • Disinfectants – iodine and chlorine (can be ineffective if water is visibly cloudy).

  • Filtration

  • UV (ultraviolet) treatment.

About World Water Day
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly designated 22 March as the first World Water Day. In 2022, World Water Day is celebrated under the theme “Groundwater: Making the invisible visible”, and UNESCO is the lead UN agency. More information can be found on: https://en.unesco.org/commemorations/waterday