Journal of Engineering Research

, 3:2

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Physical and chemical characteristics of drinking water quality in Kuwait: tap vs. bottled water

  • Abdalrahman AlsulailiAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Petroleum Email author 
  • , Meshari Al-HarbiAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Technology Management, College of Life Sciences, Kuwait University
  • , Khawlah Al-TawariAffiliated withDepartment of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Petroleum


Despite the extensive efforts made by most governments to ensure the delivery of highquality drinking water, the public lacks confidence in tap water due to pollution, bacterial contamination and its undesirable associated taste and odor. Thus, the worldwide consumption of bottled water has been steadily increasing. The main objectives of this study are, first, to determine whether that the quality of tap water in Kuwait meets international standards for drinking water, and second, to examine the drinking quality parameters of bottled water sold on the Kuwaiti market and compare them with the corresponding labeled values. Forty-three tap water samples and twenty-one bottled water brands (6 local and 15 imported) sold in Kuwait were analyzed for different chemical and physical parameters. Trace metals and major ions were analyzed using ICP-MS (Bruker 820-MS), ICP-OES (GBC Quantima Sequential) and IC-DIONEX. Total dissolved solids (TDS), pH and electrical conductivity were measured using a multi-purpose meter. The results show that the concentrations of major ions in both tap and bottled water were below the drinking water threshold values stipulated by most international agencies, with exception of the chloride (Cl-) content in tap water, where 18.6% of the samples investigated exceeded the FDA and WHO standards of 200 mg/L. The trace metal contents in most of the bottled water samples met the drinking water standards, except for the Se content in two local brands (ABC and Abraaj). For the tap water samples, the mean concentrations of Zn, As, and B exceeded some international regulatory values. This finding may result from a number of different reasons, including the geological formations through which the ground water flows and substances dissolving from either natural sources or from household plumbing systems. Concerning bottled water, the labeled and measured physiochemical parameters of the samples were compared. Discrepancies between the labeled and measured values were clear in most of the bottled water brands. This study concludes that the systematic monitoring by drinking water authorities of water quality is essential and that a uniform system for quality control and assurance is required in the bottled water industry.


Bottled water Drinking water quality Tap water