Water requirements for daily life

How much should people drink? Official recommendations give guidelines for daily requirements.

The most recent official recommendation about water requirement has been published by the European Food Safety Authority in 2010.1 This extensive scientific review has enabled the definition of adequate water intakes, based on European fluid intakes, desirable urine osmolarityand energy intake. The reference values assumed a moderate climate and moderate level of physical activity.

Table: Dietary Reference Values for water1


A table showing dietary reference values for water

These values include water that originates from both consumed fluids and food. The European Scientific Authority has also stated that the contribution of food to total water waterintake represents about 20% in adults. On this basis, it means that male adults should drink 2 L per day, and female adults 1.6 L.

No maximal tolerable intake level has been set by EFSA. This is justified by the great ability of healthy individuals to excrete excess water intakes within a large range of observed intakes. In healthy subjects the kidneys have the ability to excrete up to 0.7 to 1L/hour.1


  1. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on Dietary reference values for water. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(3):1459. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1459. Available online:www.efsa.europa.eu.

Sign up to the Newsletter and stay hydrated with the latest updates from the Hydration for Health Initiative