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Tue 12 Nov 2019 12:06 PM

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Free tap water in Dubai restaurants from 2020

Dubai Municipality says landlords will be held responsible for the cleanliness of their water tanks

Free tap water in Dubai restaurants from 2020

Amal Al Bedwawi, head of the Drinking Water Control Unit at Dubai Municipality, said tap water is safe to drink as it is already filtered for consumption, however she said restaurants must ensure their water tanks are clean in order for the water to remain drinkable.


Restaurants in Dubai will be advised to offer customers the choice of free tap water starting from next year 2020, according to new regulations by the Dubai Municipality Food Code.

While it is not a rule yet, it will hold landlords responsible for the quality of their water tanks, and is aimed at reducing single-use plastics, it was announced at the Dubai International Food Safety Conference at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre on Monday.

“Whenever you go to restaurants or hotels, you will now be seeing drinking water regulations. If you want to have a cup of water, you will see you can get it from the tap or from the bottle and you just have to select which one,” Amal Al Bedwawi, head of the Drinking Water Control Unit at Dubai Municipality, told local media.

“We are treating it as a new trend to protect the environment and reduce the use of single use plastics,” she added.

Clean tanks

Al Bedwawi said tap water is safe to drink as it is already filtered for consumption, however she said restaurants must ensure their water tanks are clean in order for the water to remain drinkable.

“Water that comes from the tap is filtered anyway, tap water comes as drinking water. But when it’s stored in tanks the risk is increasing, so we need to ensure restaurants are washing tanks used for tap water and this is the problem we are trying to control,” she said.

Al Bedwawi said residential and commercial properties should also ensure water quality, and that the Dubai Municipality is currently working on systems that ensure water quality.

“Along with that all villa owners, say you rent, the owner should be testing the water as part of the contract. At the moment this is not in your [tenancy] contract, but in the future, by law, it has to be there,” she said.

Official statements from the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) have previously stated that it is “the responsibility of the customer or owner and the maintenance companies to carry out regular maintenance of the internal networks and water tanks after the metre and to ensure that health and safety standards are met.”

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