Is the Water Safe to Drink in Fiji?
Fiji is a nation with an abundance of water sources, from surface water on the larger islands to groundwater and plenty of rainfall serving the smaller islands. However, drinking water in Fiji should be drunk with caution. So can you drink the water in Fiji?
While Fiji’s main cities, towns and resorts have treated water that is safe to drink from the tap, there are many locations where the water is not safe to drink in Fiji. It is possible for visitors to pick up waterborne bacteria like E. coli, otherwise known as traveller’s diarrhoea, from drinking untreated water. With the right precautions, there are plenty of ways to make sure you stay hydrated and healthy while exploring the islands of Fiji.
For more health tips, check out What Medicines to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Fiji, as well as How to Keep Safe in Fiji.
6 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Fiji
- Boil the water first
- Use a Lifestraw Bottle to filter the impurities from the water
- Ask where to get drinking water (note that if you’re staying with locals in a village, for example, then you should boil their recommended water anyway)
- Stay in a major resort
- Stay in one of the main towns of cities, like Nadi, Suva or Denarau
- Drink bottled water.
For more information and more ways to get safe drinking water, check out 6 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Fiji.
Is it Easy to Access Drinking Water in Fiji?
Visitors to Fiji do not have a problem accessing drinking water. On the larger islands of Fiji, like Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu, there is a significant amount of permanent surface water sources. This, as well as groundwater in some cases, is what is used to source water in Fiji’s towns and cities. Water in towns and cities is treated and is safe to drink from the tap.
On Fiji’s smaller outer islands, like the Mamanucas, Yasawas, Lau Islands, Lomaiviti Islands, etc. there is little to no surface water sources, so settlements rely on groundwater or rainwater for drinking, of which there is plenty to sustain a small village. This water is usually stored in tanks or barrels for drinking.
Bottled water is generally easy to access in Fiji. Bottled water is sold in most stores, as well as within resorts – even on the outer islands. You will not often be able to buy bottled water in Fijian villages.
Is the Water Treated in Fiji?
The water is treated only in some parts of the country. In short, water is treated for drinking in towns and cities, but not for outside these areas, such as villages, rural areas or outer islands.
How is the Water Treated in Fiji?
The Water Authority of Fiji has around 44 water treatment facilities to treat water so it is safe to drink from the tap in Fiji’s main towns and cities.
Treatment facilities put water through a process of Water Intake – Aeration – Coagulation – Sedimentation – Filtration – Disinfection – Fluoridation – pH Correction. The chemicals used in Fiji’s water treatment are as follows:
- Aluminium Sulphate – as a coagulant
- Polymer – as a coagulant aid
- Sodium Carbonate – for coagulation pH adjustment
- Pre-chlorination – if needed
- Hydrated Lime – for pH adjustment
- Chlorine gas – as a disinfectant
- Fluoride – to prevent tooth decay.
Where is the Water Not Treated in Fiji?
Always assume that the water is not treated outside of the main towns and cities of Fiji. The water is generally not treated in the following types of locations:
- Villages (including both on the large and small islands)
- Small towns
- Outer islands
- Inland rural areas.
It’s important to note that although there is drinking water in the above locations, it is not treated. Locals are used to drinking untreated water and generally don’t have a problem drinking groundwater or rainwater stored in tanks – perhaps as their immune systems can handle minor waterborne diseases better. Visitors drinking the same water might experience problems, such as enterohemorrhagic (E. coli), otherwise known as traveller’s diarrhoea, or other waterborne bacteria.
Is the Tap Water Safe to Drink in Fiji Resorts?
The general rule of thumb is that tap water in resorts is safe to drink. If it is not the case, then you should be informed upon check-in and provided with bottled water in your room. Just to be safe, we always recommend asking if the water is safe to drink, wherever you stay in Fiji.
The Best Ways to Make Sure Water is Safe to Drink
For any adventurous traveller wanting to explore the outer islands of Fiji, don’t be put off by the fact that you probably can’t drink water straight from the tap. There are plenty of other ways that you can make sure you have water to drink while you’re in paradise.
Boil the Water
The cheapest and most effective way to purify water so it is safe to drink is to boil the water first. Boiling water will kill parasites, bacteria and viruses. Bring the water to a hard boil for at least ten minutes and it will be safe to drink.
Drink Bottled Water
Bottled water is safe to drink in Fiji. Some resorts may provide you with bottled water in your room if it is safer to drink than the tap water. However, bottled water is less economical, inconvenient to carry enough around in remote areas, and extremely bad for the environment.
Learn more about buying the necessities in Fiji in Where to Get Your Essentials in Fiji.
Use a Water-Purifying Water Bottle
The second most effective way of making sure untreated water is safe to drink, after boiling water, is to use a water-purifying water bottle. Water bottles, such as the Lifestraw Bottle, removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, as well as 99.9% of waterborne protozoan. It provides a convenient alternative if you don’t have the means to boil water. Although the manufacturers claim that it can be used with most types of water, we still recommend using it with the water from the local drinking water source, so always ask where to get drinking water. The downside to these bottles is that they are a bit of an investment, but at least the filter has a long lifespan. Note that water-purifying bottles are different from water filters that just make the water “taste” good. Make sure that you get the right thing!
For more cool gadgets to take with you to Fiji, take a look at 18 Must-Have Gadgets to Pack for Fiji.