Hotels and restaurants in Dubai will have to offer customers filtered tap water as an alternative to bottled water, starting next year, reports Khaleej Times. The new regulations, set in the Dubai Food Code 2020, which will be released by the Dubai Municipality (DM) next year, aims to cut down on the use of single-use plastics.
Amal Albedwawi, Head of the Drinking Water Control Unit at the municipality, recently told media during the 13th Dubai International Food Safety Conference, "Whenever you visit a hotel or restaurant, you can select whether to have filtered tap water or bottled water."
Launched in 2013, this is the first time tap water regulations will be included in the Dubai Food Code. She explained, "The tap water provided by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) is fit for direct consumption any way. However, people can consume water directly from the tap if the building tanks are clean and if water sampling has been according to drinking water parameters set by the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (Esma)." She added: "If tanks are regularly maintained, people can drink tap water any way. There must be no broken pipes, no rust in the tank, etc."
"We are currently building different systems to ensure water quality is routinely tested in residential and commercial properties. Ideally, the landlord should be testing the water as part of the contract," she explained.
The implementation of tap water in hotel and restaurant menus is officially not part of the federal law and has been launched by the Dubai Municipality as an initiative which they hope will catch on. Albedwawi said, "For the first two years, there will be no penalties levied on the eateries either. We are promoting it as an initiative."
The initiative will be launched with the launch of the Dubai Food Code by 2020. "It is already a practice in some restaurants and hotels. We are hoping it will catch on," added Albedwawi.
Dawoud Al Hajri, Director- General of the Dubai Municipality, opened the 13th Dubai International Food Safety Conference. The conference highlighted the importance and role of global partnerships among stakeholders in creating a better future for food safety globally.
Al Hajri said, "Food safety is a shared responsibility and requires concerted efforts of all those involved in this important area - food producers, processors and preparation establishments - especially with the upcoming major event in the country, Expo 2020, which marks a milestone in the march of Dubai and the UAE, it is important that the strategic partners in the food industry provide quality food that meets the tastes of all guests of the country."