Can you drink the water Ischia?
Short answer: Absolutely.
I drink the tap water here and quite like the taste. Back in the Hudson Valley we had a water softener at our house and the water was salty, while the water in New York City was treated with chlorine and had a chlorine taste. The water here tastes much better. So if you’d like to save money on bottled water and avoid using plastic as much as you can, fill up your water bottles with tap water.
If you travel around Italy, you’ll notice that the vast majority of people drink bottled water.
But it’s a preference to drink bottled water rather than a necessity. I’ve asked friends and acquaintances around the island whether they drink water from the tap and I’ve gotten a mix of yeses and nos. The ones that prefer to drink bottled water said that it’s a matter of taste. I do occasionally find someone tell me that they drink bottled water because the tap water isn’t potable. When that happens I always ask some follow up questions. I ask what kind of water do you use to make coffee? They say tap water. But what about brushing your teeth? Tap water. And what about washing vegetables? Tap water. And what about making soup? Tap water.
Honestly if the tap water wasn’t drinkable there would be water filtration systems set up all over the island and in all of the hotels. You can’t accomodate up to 6 million tourists a year if the water isn’t drinkable.
Tap water didn’t arrive in Ischia until 1958
The fact that we have running tap water on the island is something that should be celebrated, because up until 1958, the island had to rely on rain water collection, a handful of natural springs and bottled tap water brought from Naples by ferry. There was not enough water to drunk, bathe in, and wash clothes and you can imagine what the water shortages were like in the summer time. So when the main underwater aqueduct from the mainland was finally connected to Ischia via Procida on 9 November 1958, there was a gigantic celebration. It also paved the way for the development of the tourist economy on the island.
In fact, if you go to Ischia Ponte, there is a monument commemorating the occasion in Piazzale delle Alghe. The aqueduct stretches from Miliscola in the town of Bacolion the mainland, through to Procida and then past the Castello Aragonese to its point of arrival in Ischia Ponte.
So when you come here, drink the water in Ischia. Fill up your water bottle and make a toast to Italian post-war modernisation and save your euro for a coffee at the bar.