In just a few short years, eight to be exact, things have changed. When I was previously in India, it was easy to know which bottled water was safe. I just looked for a bottle that had a cap sealed with plastic.
It was the same when I was in Sri Lanka last Christmas. That was an easy way to know that the bottle hadn’t been tampered with. I wouldn’t buy any bottle of water unless it had a plastic seal because I couldn’t be certain the vendor hadn’t refilled an empty bottle. It does happen, so you have to be careful. Having been to India before and in Sri Lanka less than a year before, I thought I had this sussed. I really wasn’t expecting it to be a problem, but things change, and that has been the case in India. Long gone are the days of bottled water with plastic seals around the caps in India. I wasn’t prepared for that, so I was really confused and surprised when I arrived at the airport in Kolkata and couldn’t find plastic sealed bottled water anywhere.
I asked which bottled water was safe to drink, and I was told that any bottled water, providing the seal is intact, is safe. The thing is, it isn’t quite that easy. It never is! I mean, how can you be sure that the vendors haven’t glued the seal shut to make it look as if the seal is unbroken? By that point, I had no choice. I had to take a chance and hope for the best because I hadn’t brought any water treatment tablets with me, nor my LifeStraw (a water filter). I could have kicked myself.
A few days in, I saw an advert about bottled water, and it mentioned ISI.
I had never heard of that, so I looked it up and found out that ISI stands for the Indian Standards Institute. Bottled water with that logo certifies the water is safe to drink.
Two steps to choosing safe bottled water:
Ensure it is ISI certified. Look for the ISI logo, and check it also has a seven-digit licence number. Apparently, there are plenty of fakes out there.
Check the seal carefully. Even if it has the ISI logo, with the seven-digit licence number underneath, the vendor could have refilled an empty bottle and sealed the cap with glue. You need to ensure it has the original seal.
Have your say
Have you been to India recently? Do you have any other tips to ensure the bottled water in India is safe to drink?