For those living in Saigon long-term, it is natural to have concerns over the quality of the drinking water in the city. When I first arrived to Saigon in 2004, you dared not drink from the tap water. Everyone always ordered bottled water. Some 15 years later, the tap water has significantly improved. Yet, most people, such as myself, will be a bit weary to drink from the tap.
Is the tap water safe to drink in Saigon in 2019? In the past year, I have tested the ppm, parts per million, of the water in District 4. I was surprised that the reading was in the low 40s ppm which meant it was purified. At the time, I thought the water was being filtered in the apartment building. Turns out it was not. When I moved to District 1, I got a reading of 50 ppm where I lived for the tap water. That is roughly the same as the bottled water in my room.
SAWACO is responsible for providing clean tap water for Saigon. For those living in the inner districts such as District 1 and District 4, the tap water may be pretty much clean. It seems the outlying districts are not as clean yet. This will probably change in the near future.
I have drank tap water in both District 1 and 4. It tastes a bit of a different but I assume that it may be more mental then anything (I swear I can smell chlorine as well). When I used to purify my water, the resulting ppm was around 20 ppm. Thus technically, there really is not a big difference between the tap water and filtered water purified using reversed osmosis.
Would that convince me to switch entirely to tap water? Not yet though I do clean, brush my teeth and cook with tap water now. When I do not have any bottled water, I will use tap water for drinking. Again this is more psychological then anything.
With the issue of zero waste and overuse of plastics now, especially in Vietnam, it may be better for people in Saigon to consider switching to tap water. It will take time and outside tests will need to be done constantly to heck the water quality level.
Below is a video that looks at the issue of tap water versus bottled water in Singapore.