Water in Central Asia

Teapot at a roadside cafeDrinking the tap water in Central Asia can be a recipe for disaster.

Standards are highest in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan but the overall level of monitoring still isn’t good. Most locals drink bottled water and you should either follow suit or carry a water filter.

Bottled water is available in all cities in towns but in small villages it may be hard to find and it also creates undesirable plastic waste.

A water filter like the MSR Miniworks EX is the best solution for this part of the world because there are many rural rides and beautiful places like Kyrgyzstan’s Lake Song Kol where there won’t be a shop for miles around. Streams and lakes are plentiful and a filter will let you draw safe water from a local source.

The other option is to boil your water but this is tedious and uses up precious fuel.

We occasionally drank water in Kyrgyzstan without filtering it, when it came from town pumps where all the locals were drinking the water, or when we could see that it came from a deep well.

In restaurants, it’s okay to drink the tea that will be served free with meals.