Aim: While the diuretic action of acute ingestion of alcohol has been studied extensively, the effect of chronic alcohol consumption has received less attention. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of chronic alcohol consumption on the balance of water intake and excretion and certain renal functions in rats during a period of 12 months. Animals and Study Design: Male Wistar rats received either alcohol (15% v/v; group A, n = 65) or tap water (group C, n = 35) as drinking fluid. Urine and faeces were collected from 6 rats of each group during 7 days, at monthly intervals. In further experiments, the animals received a low-protein/high-fat diet with and without alcohol. Results: When the rats were fed the standard diet, 24-hour urine excretion was significantly reduced in group A compared with group C. This difference was even more pronounced when the animals were fed the low-protein/high-fat diet. The reduced urine excretion was not due to lower liquid consumption and the pattern of daily excretion of faeces was comparable with that observed for urine excretion. Both sodium and potassium excretion and the diuretic response to an acute water load were significantly reduced in group A compared with group C. The changes in water balance induced by chronic alcohol consumption were reversible within a few days when the rats received water instead of 15% alcohol. Conclusions: Chronic alcohol consumption has an antidiuretic effect in rats. The percentage of total ingested fluid leaving the body as hidden water loss increases after alcohol consumption by up to 25–26% over control values.