As much as water is fundamental to everyday life, rivers also play a defining role. The Stadtwerke Düsseldorf, the local utility, supplies water to more than 600,000 people in Dusseldorf, Erkrath and Mettmann. An average of 170 million litres of drinking water flow through more than 1,700 km of supply system every day - the equivalent of about 850,000 bathtubs each with 200 litres of water - about one quarter of which originates from ground water but three quarters from seepage from the river Rhine.
Many believe tea varies in taste, depending on the water used and producers of beer claim that water plays a major role in the quality of their brew. Here, the quality of the tap water is extremely high and is controlled by European directives and national law. The services take daily specimens that are tested in labs and the test results are additionally checked by the public health department of Dusseldorf.
Whilst in many countries such as France, Spain and USA tap water served with coffee or meals comes naturally, a waiter in Germany may appear somewhat dumbfounded when asked for a glass here. Tap water and German cafes or restaurants are mutually exclusive and most may assume a need to dissolve an aspirin against headaches.
Germans generally drink mineral water and mostly sparkling. Ordering still water (stilles Wasser) may result in bottled water, tap water (Leitungswasser) is more precise. Do not hesitate to drink tap water, especially in Düsseldorf and region. As the photo shows, even the Rhine is so clean nowadays that mussels grow in abundance.