A Guide to Drinking Tap Water in Samoa
Samoa gets its water from surface water sourced from river intakes and bores, while rainwater intake is also heavily relied on. Although most of the country’s water supply is treated to some extent, it’s perhaps not up to the standards that many visitors are used to. So, can you drink the water in Samoa?
As a rule of thumb, it is not safe to drink tap water in Samoa. It is possible to catch traveller’s diarrhoea (a common waterborne form of E.coli) from drinking water that hasn’t been fully treated. But there’s no need to panic, if you follow the simple tips in this guide, you’ll be able to have a safe trip to Samoa while staying hydrated!
5 Ways to Make Sure the Water is Safe to Drink in Samoa
If you have any doubt about drinking water in Samoa follow these tips on making sure the water is safe to drink…
- Boil the water first – boiling water for 10 minutes or longer kills bacteria and is the best way to make sure water is safe to drink
- Use a Lifestraw Bottle – it includes a filtration system that makes your water safe to drink while also avoiding the use of disposable water bottles
- Stay at a resort/accommodation with a water filtration system – Some of the main resorts in Samoa provide filtrated tap water for their guests, or at least a filtered water drinking station to refill water bottles, so ask if the water is safe to drink when researching a place to stay
- Use water purifying tablets – This method comes as little sachets or tablets and, when mixed into your water for a certain amount of time, will kill most bacteria and parasites present in it making it safe to drink
- Drink bottled water – Although not super for the environment, buying bottled water from your resort or a supermarket is a good way to stay safe.
We elaborate further on these points in the “The Best Ways to Make Sure Water is Safe to Drink” section below.
Is it Easy to Access Safe Drinking Water in Samoa?
Safe drinking water is not as easy to access in Samoa as it is in more developed countries. If visitors don’t take their own precautions, like using purification bottles, boiling the water or using purification tablets, then they tend to only have their resort’s filtered drinking water and bottled water to rely on.
Filtered Water at Your Resort
Some resorts and upmarket accommodations in Samoa have effective filtration systems so that their guests can either drink the tap water or fill up water bottles at a filtered water station. You should always ask if you are unsure about drinking the water.
Bottled Water in Samoa
Bottled water is easily accessible at local supermarkets and convenience stores in Samoa. Convenience stores can be found in almost all coastal villages, so buying bottled water is often the only opportunity to access safe drinking water when you’re out and about (unless you follow some of the tips below). Make sure to dispose of your plastic waste responsibly after use and reuse it if possible.
Is the Water Treated in Samoa?
Around 85% of the population in Samoa has access to water from water treatment plants run by the Samoa Water Authority. Around 18% of the population, mainly in rural areas, rely on independent water schemes. The treatment facilities for water in Samoa are rather basic compared to more developed countries, so visitors to Samoa should take precautions before drinking tap water.
Drinking Tap Water in Samoa
Although most locals are generally fine to drink it, there may be higher concentrations or unfamiliar strains of bacteria, like E.coli, present in the water. It’s unlikely that visitors will have built up an immunity to particular bacterial strains, which can cause traveller’s diarrhoea. That’s why it is generally advised for visitors to treat the tap water in Samoa before drinking it, even if the locals are drinking it.
The Best Ways to Make Sure Water is Safe to Drink
As we’ve established, treating drinking water in Samoa is a good idea for travellers. We understand, however, that there are some challenges when it comes to making sure water is safe to drink, like having access to facilities to boil water or even the environmental implications of buying bottled water. That’s why we have prepared a few ways to purify water so you can put that in your knowledge bank for any tropical adventure!
Boil the Water
Bringing the water to a boil for 10 minutes is probably the best-known method of purifying water. It kills parasites, bacteria and even viruses and ensures that it is fully safe to drink. Plus, it is the cheapest water purifying method out there. Note that boiling water in a kettle won’t effectively kill bacteria; water must be boiled for several minutes.
Use Water Purification Tablets
Use your own water bottle, drop a water purifying tablet and “voila!” This method has been trialled and tested for years and despite the fact that it gives a bit of a weird taste to the water, it is widely used by travellers around the globe.
If the taste is an issue for you, try a water-purifying solution. Although a bit more expensive, it offers better taste and water clarity than tablets. Price-wise, this is still going to save you tens of dollars compared to buying bottled water all trip long.
Buy a Water-Purifying Water Bottle
By far our favourite solution of them all, water-purifying bottles like the Lifestraw Bottle remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan. That means that there is no boiling necessary and that you can fill up your water bottle from any tap in Samoa and know that you have a filtration system with you. Although they are not the cheapest option, once the initial purchase is done, all you have to do is to replace the filtration cartridge when it expires.
Although there are alternative brands to Lifestraw, this is just the one that the SamoaPocketGuide.com team use when travelling the Pacific, so we can recommend it with confidence. When looking for alternatives, make sure to search for “water-purifying” and not “water-filtration” as filtration only improves the taste of the water.
For more handy things to pack for Samoa, check out What to Pack for Samoa: A Full Samoa Packing List.
More About Health and Safety for Visiting Samoa
That’s it for our guide to drinking tap water in Samoa but by no means the end of our Samoa advice. Check out more health and safety tips in the following articles:
- The Best Sunscreens for Samoa + Sun Protection Tips
- 10 Ways to Avoid Mosquito Bites in Samoa
- Samoa Safety Tips: Is it Safe to Travel to Samoa?