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Lemons splashing in water.

Taste

The taste of Las Vegas' tap water can be affected by two things: the relatively high concentration of minerals in our water, and the presence of trace amounts of chlorine.

It is important to note that our drinking water meets or surpasses all water quality standards. Although some may not care for its taste, the Las Vegas Valley Water District and Southern Nevada Water Authority are committed to meeting the highest standards of water quality.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has a panel of trained water tasters who meet weekly to evaluate drinking water in the Las Vegas Valley. Learn more about water testing and treatment.

Minerals in our tap water

As is the case in many Western States, Las Vegas' tap water is "hard," meaning it has a higher concentration of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Sometimes the minerals found in hard water can be detected in its taste.

Chlorine

The Las Vegas Valley Water District adds small amounts of chlorine during the water-treatment process to protect our drinking water supply. Some people report noticing the taste or smell of chlorine.

Use these tips to help improve the flavor of your tap water

  • Put a pitcher of tap water in the refrigerator. This allows the chlorine to dissipate. After just a few hours, you'll notice an improvement in flavor.
  • Add a lemon or orange slice. You'll add zest and overcome any chlorine taste or smell.
  • Filter your water. There are hundreds of filter options at varying costs, but an inexpensive activated carbon filter, like those found in carafe systems, can improve taste and odor perceptions associated with chlorine. These filters do not remove hardness, minerals, sodium or fluoride.

Filtering or softening tap water

If you want to improve aesthetic qualities of your water such as taste and hardness, you may want to purchase a home treatment system.

There are a variety of inexpensive filter systems to remove chlorine from your drinking water. If you do not like the hardness of the valley's water supply, you can invest in a softening system.

Comparison of home water treatment systems
Type Description Pros Cons
Activated Carbon Filters Activated carbon filters attract and hold certain chemicals as water passes through them. They are available in carafe units, faucet-mounted filters and models mounted beneath the sink. Reduces chlorine odor and taste; many are inexpensive. Doesn't remove minerals associated with hard water; can require frequent filter changes; does not remove microbes such as bacteria.
Reverse-Osmosis Filters These systems use both a traditional (usually carbon) filter and a cellophane-like membrane to remove most organic and inorganic compounds. This is the only type of filter that will remove calcium and magnesium, the minerals that cause hard water. Removes minerals that cause hardness, as well as chemicals such as lead, arsenic and copper. Very effective at removing bacteria and other harmful microbes. More expensive; may require a plumber; requires more storage space; many units waste water.
Water Softeners Devices used to exchange calcium and magnesium for "softer" minerals—usually sodium or potassium. Reduces water spots; eliminates chalky residue on dishes; may enhance dishwasher and washing machine performance. Very expensive; higher maintenance. Some add salt to drinking water, which can be harmful to health. Salt in water also can be harmful to houseplants, grass and soil.

Many water filters feature a certification by NSF International, a not-for-profit organization that tests water treatment devices. While not a guarantee, the NSF label is a good indicator that the product lives up to its claims. You may want to be cautious if the product is not NSF-certified.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority offers information from Consumer Reports comparing home water filtration systems to help you make an informed decision. Fill out the SNWA Interest Form or call 702-258-3930 for a water-quality information packet.