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Can You Drink Tap Water In Hawaii? (READ Before Visiting!)

We want to say yes, but considering the water crisis that took place in Hawaii in recent months, the answer is both yes and no. But Hawaii’s tap water is considered one of the purest in the country.

This is a question often raised by tourists visiting the archipelago. Until very recently, drinking tap water in Hawaii was completely safe, at least in most regions of the state, but the Navy fuel contamination raised concerns among locals as well as tourists.

So, let’s discuss the answer to this question in further detail.

How Does Hawaii Get Drinking Water?

How does Hawaii get water

Groundwater is the main source of water in Hawaii, which is, arguably, the purest form of water you can find anywhere in the world.

Tap water is sourced from the onshore aquifers, and they get water from the cache of rainwater accumulated underground for years; this water is filtered through natural porous volcanic rock. Due to this reason, no purification chemicals like fluoride are added to water, except around military installations.

But a negligible amount of chlorine is added to prevent bacteria contamination in water.

Related: Food you must try in Hawaii

Is Tap Water In Hawaii Clean? Does It Taste Okay?

Yes, it’s clean – but we wouldn’t drink tap water acquired from the Navy water system.

The Board of Water Supply adheres to regulations laid out by state agencies in the US to make sure that Hawaiian tap water is drinkable.

As for the taste of the water, some love the taste of Hawaiian tap water, and some don’t. The chlorine added to the water renders a strange taste; some don’t even detect the taste, but some do – it depends on your taste sensations.


There’s an abundance of freshwater on the island of Oahu. The aquifer system of the island is unique in that it has been accumulating water in underground caverns for hundreds of years. No fluoride is added to water in Oahu, and you can drink directly from the tap.


The quality of the water here is administered by EPA standards, so tap water is generally safe to drink. According to federal agencies in the United States, the water quality of Maui meets all the state standards.

Big Island

Tap water on Big Island is safe. The water is percolated through porous volcanic rock, so ideally, you shouldn’t have to filter your tap water using a home filtering system.


You can drink tap water in Kauai.

However, some tourists take the extra precaution of filtering using home filtering methods; if this is your first time in Kauai and you are not used to the tap water here, we advise that you take the same precaution – you could also boil your water.


Apart from the strange taste you are sure to detect, tap water in Kona is generally safe to drink. According to the Department of Health, regular tests are done to ensure the quality of tap water.


You won’t encounter issues with tap water in Waikiki. It’s safe to drink, and the state agencies in the US guarantee that the water doesn’t have any disease-carrying contaminants.

Water Purification Methods In Hawaii

Hawaii takes pride in its water purification system.

Hawaii has a natural purification system, making the water here some of the purest water in the country. The rainwater that’s accumulated over the years is filtered through volcanic rock and soil. This is the type of water that you find in springs and wells in Hawaii.

The Recent Water Problem In Hawaii – Navy Fuel Contamination

In November 2021, the source of water that thousands of families in Oahu relied upon was contaminated by jet fuel. This took place in Kapūkaki. There is a storage facility, Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility, that sits directly above the aquifer.

Fuel was released into the water, which resulted in a series of health complications.

Best Drinking Water In Hawaii

The best drinking water in Hawaii is acquired from onshore aquifers. However, the definition of the best drinking water in Hawaii is a matter of personal opinion. Most locals think tap water is the best drinking water, and most wouldn’t buy bottled water.

Some tourists, on the other hand, don’t like the taste of tap water in Hawaii. As for bottled water in Hawaii, there are several companies that sell good quality bottled water.

Our Two Cents On The Matter

Bottled Water

When you are on holiday, the last thing you want is to fall sick. Your safety and health come first, no matter what. If it’s a short holiday in Hawaii, we would advise you to buy bottled water from a reputed brand.

If you are unable to buy bottled water, however, there are two things you can do: boil your water or use a filtration method.

Most hotels provide good drinking water, but it would be best to check with them to make sure that they have a filtration system.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hawaii Water

Can restaurants not serve tap water in Hawaii?

They can. But you are supposed to request water.

Is water expensive in Hawaii?

Water can be expensive but the price will depend upon the brand and store you make the purchase from. We recommend heading to the nearest ABC Store for cheaper prices.

Why is water in Hawaii salty?

Water in Hawaii is not salty. 99% of the drinking water is sourced from underground aquifers.

Editorially Reviewed By:

Nichola is a writer/editor and a shy foodie who shares a very soft spot for all things travel. She considers herself to be an island girl at heart, and nothing excites her more than learning about new places people can explore and biting into a slice of sweet melon on a hot and sunny day.

She has specialized in travel writing for over 5 years, all the while being a lifelong (die-hard) anime fan!