7 Countries With The Cleanest Water In The World

Introduction – Clean Water Globally

Clean water is the first thing to consider regarding a healthy lifestyle. Water, along with air, food, shelter, are considered really the absolute fundamental essentials to life. Yet, 25% of the world, or about 2 billion people lack access to water as reported by the UN and UNICEF. We can learn a lot from both countries that lack access to water as well as countries with the cleanest water.

Clean water requires a civic mindset

Only a few countries are well-known for the cleanest water in the world.

These countries have advanced water purification systems that reduce the number of pollutants in their drinking water.

The secret to having the cleanest water in the world lies in properly maintaining these filtration systems.

Regular maintenance will ensure your drinking water is free from harmful chemicals and bacteria. In this post, we share the seven countries that have the cleanest water.

Common Criteria Are Used To Rank Countries With Cleanest Water

When evaluating water, a large number of factors play into the score a country receives. Roughly we can think of them falling into three categories: access, quality, and sustainability.

  1. Access: This is the proportion of the population that can easily obtain safe drinking water. This data can be gathered from surveys and infrastructure assessments.
  2. Quality: This involves testing the water for contaminants. There are several key metrics, including the presence of harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites; the concentration of harmful chemicals (such as heavy metals or pesticides); and the water’s pH, turbidity, and hardness. These tests require lab equipment and trained personnel, and they may need to be done frequently to account for temporal variations in water quality.
  3. Sustainability: This takes into account how well a country’s water resources are managed to ensure they continue to provide clean water in the future. This can involve factors such as water usage rates, conservation measures, pollution control, and the health of watersheds.

Combining all this data gives a comprehensive view of a country’s water situation.

Caveat of course is that different metrics might prioritize different factors.

For instance, one ranking might prioritize access, while another might prioritize chemical purity.

World Economic Forum, Yale And Columbia EPI Is Used To Rank Objectively

Prior we had used more subjective means of ranking the countries.

This time in July of 2023, we switched to using a measure based on data collected by the WEF and two universities Yale and Columbia.

The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) is a comprehensive index that provides a quantitative measure of a country’s environmental performance in relation to established sustainability benchmarks.

Established by Yale and Columbia Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, the EPI assesses 40 different performance indicators across 11 categories such as air quality, water resources, biodiversity, and climate change, to assign a score that demonstrates how close a country is to achieving its environmental targets.

These scores offer a useful way to compare countries’ performances, identify successful policy practices, and highlight areas needing improvement.

Inclusion of the EPI scores in the review of countries with clean drinking water is crucial as it provides an objective measure of a country’s overall commitment to maintaining and improving water quality, a key component of environmental health.

It provides context to the list, highlighting not just the current state of water quality but also how these countries fare in broader environmental stewardship, which has direct and indirect impacts on water quality.

It also points to these countries’ capability to sustain their performance in the long run, helping to underscore the importance of holistic environmental policies in ensuring clean and safe drinking water.

7 Countries With The Cleanest Water In The World

1. Malta

EPI Score: 99.8

Malta is a densely populated island nation

Despite being one of the smallest and most densely populated countries globally, Malta maintains excellent water quality.

The country has invested heavily in desalination and water recycling technologies to compensate for its limited natural freshwater resources.

Thanks to stringent regulations and constant monitoring, Maltese tap water is safe for consumption.

Sustainability is a key priority, with a strong focus on water conservation and efficient use of water resources.

2. Switzerland

EPI Score: 100

Switzerland provides citizens universal access to water

Swiss tap water is globally recognized for its high quality and is one of the safest drinking water sources.

The country’s citizens have universal access to top-quality water, thanks to a well-established infrastructure and stringent water treatment standards.

The Swiss authorities regularly monitor water quality, and the country has a strong emphasis on sustainability, investing in water conservation, and maintaining strict pollution control measures to ensure it reaches the stringent water quality standards set by the Swiss National Drinking Water Protection Act.

Read more about Switzerland’s drinking water here.

3. United Kingdom

EPI Score: 100 

The UK built up good infrastructure

The United Kingdom, another new entrant in this revised list, ensures a high standard of water quality across the country.

The UK has a well-developed infrastructure for water supply, and its water is regularly monitored and tested for safety.

The country follows strict regulations for water treatment and is committed to maintaining and improving water quality.

Water sustainability is also a high priority in the UK, with numerous measures in place for water conservation and pollution control.

4. Netherlands

EPI Score: 100

Canals feature heavily in Netherland’s history

The Netherlands, which didn’t feature in the original list but ranks high on the EPI, has an excellent water management system.

The country, famous for its extensive network of canals, has invested heavily in water purification and sanitation.

The tap water in the Netherlands is of exceptional quality and is subject to stringent testing and regulations to ensure it is safe for consumption.

5. Iceland

EPI Score: 100

Seljalandsfoss Waterfalls is an example of the great conservation and water quality on Iceland

Iceland’s pristine natural environments contribute to its high-quality water.

The country’s tap water, sourced from pollution-free springs, is considered among the cleanest globally.

With its small population and substantial natural water resources, everyone in Iceland has access to clean water.

The government actively preserves natural springs and aquifers to ensure sustainability.

6. Finland

EPI Score: 100

Finland is heavily forested and called “land of a thousand lakes”

Finland’s heavily forested landscape, known as the “land of a thousand lakes”, contributes to the exceptional quality of its water.

The country has an organized water supply system that serves the majority of its households, with water supply plants handling the production and distribution of water for various purposes, including drinking and cooking.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry plays a crucial strategic role in ensuring a secure water supply, striving to provide healthy drinking water at a reasonable cost.

Although microbial threats within building water systems may still pose challenges, Finland’s water quality is excellent and is strictly monitored by the municipal health protection authority.

7. Norway

EPI Score: 100

Norway receives high levels of precipitation

Norway is distinguished for its clean water, among many other unique features.

The water’s cleanliness is attributed to several factors: the amount of clean surface precipitation that Norway receives each year, stringent regulations on industrial and agricultural effluents’ impact on bodies of water, and careful monitoring and management of natural resources.

As a result, Norway offers clean water for drinking and activities such as swimming and fishing, greatly enhancing the experience for both locals and visitors.


In conclusion, it’s worth noting that along with these seven countries, there are many other nations around the globe where you can find some of the cleanest water in the world.

More countries can join this list of nations with the purest water with proper maintenance and investments in clean drinking water initiatives. Spreading awareness about the importance of a clean and healthy lifestyle, which includes access to clean drinking water, is important.

If we all take steps toward protecting our environment from pollution, we will be able to enjoy the benefits of some of the cleanest water in the world for years to come.

Staff Writer
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