If you are coming to Fuerteventura on holiday then asking can you drink the tap water in Fuerteventura is not an unreasonable question.
You can drink the tap water in Fuerteventura as it is safe, however, it does have quite a high amount of chlorine in it so it doesn’t taste too good. It is fine for washing and brushing your teeth though. Bottled water is cheap so buy that to drink.
Bottled water is very cheap here. You can buy 8 litre plastic bottles for around 1 euro in many supermarkets.
Is tap water in Fuerteventura safe to drink?
The Fuerteventura water is safe to drink straight from the tap and, of course, also safe to drink after it has been boiled.
Many locals use tap water to make tea, coffee etc but many expats find that it makes the drink taste odd. Instead many people buy water in the supermarkets in 8 litre plastic bottles, which can cost as little as €1 in some supermarkets, such as Mercadona, so it is quite cheap. The biggest drawback is having to carry the heavy bottles.
We actually have a good under-sink filter system with a separate drinking water tap which works well, saves money, and best of all means no more lugging 4-5 heavy water bottles a week from the supermarket. We also use less plastic that way too so it is better for the environment.
Where does the Fuerteventura water come from?
Fuerteventura has a very low annual rainfall and has no rivers (at least not that flow year round) so water is a rare commodity. There are only a couple of reservoirs on the island, and these feed agricultural land, not the Fuerteventura water supply.
All tap water in Fuerteventura therefore comes from the sea and is desalinated in a number of desalination plants located around the island. Without desalination plants tourism simply couldn’t have happened here.
Desalinating seawater consumes quite a large amount of energy so now all, or most, desalination plants have wind turbines which generate the electricity used in the process.
What did they do in the past?
If you travel around you may notice on some of the hillsides that there are terraces which lead to a central gully. These were built to channel any rainfall into the gully. This gully then ran down to a village at the bottom of the hill and fed underground water tanks under many of the houses.
Many of the houses had tanks under their houses with a opening on the high side and another on the low side to let the water continue flowing down the hill to the next house once the tank was full. The rumour is that if you had fallen out with your neighbour down the hill you peed in the water as it left your house. That is probably just an urban myth though.
If you go walking in the countryside (the campo) you may come across some old Fuerteventura water storage tanks which are just huge holes that are rendered with cement to make them watertight. These are rarely used any more.
In more recent times water was brought to the island to supplement the rainfall in navy tankers which must have been pretty costly.
Even today not every home is linked to the water mains, particularly in some very rural areas. They have their water delivered in water tankers and have their water tanks topped up.
Are there any springs?
Well there is little underground water here so no Fuerteventura water sources. Most rainfall just runs along barrancos and just ends up in the sea without soaking in.
There is a small spring high up on a hill overlooking La Oliva which is the source of the Tababaire (not that there is a Tababaire river or anything. This was the site of a very old tiny settlement, obviously because water was available.
I made a spoof video about finding the source some years ago: