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Water Today Title June 29, 2022

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Update 2017/10/20
Tap Water Awards


This story is brought to you in part by Proteus Waters

By Cori Marshall

At WaterToday we mostly report on the negative aspects of water distribution, boil water advisories, water main breaks and the like; there are however municipalities that are rewarded for the quality of their tap water. Today we look at two municipalities that have won honours in 2017 and how they got there.

Just last week, 350 water experts were gathered on Lévis, Québec for the Symposium on Water Management organized by Réseau Environnement. It was during the event that the Province's Best Municipal Water Competition was held. The 2017 edition is the fourth of its kind in Québec.

In a communiqué, Réseau Environnement said that "the City of Sherbrooke won the jury prize." The jury was composed of four individuals, three figures involved in water management in Québec and a sommelier. The water came from nine municipalities, and "was evaluated by the jury according to taste, clarity and smell," according to the communiqué.

While Sherbrooke took home top honours in the taste test,, it was not the only Québec municipality to be recognized at the symposium. Montréal's Atwater station "won the public award, chosen by Symposium participants who were invited to taste and vote for their favourite water blindly."

Further another 26 municipalities water won accolades at the event. Réseau Environnement said the municipalities who won the highest honour "obtained the 5-star certification for the quality of water produced in their drinking water [treatment] stations in 2016."

Here is a list of the 5-star municipalities and water treatment stations;
  • Bécancour
  • L'Assomption
  • Laval (Pont-Viau, Ste-Rose, and Chomedey)
  • Montréal (Pointe-Claire)
  • Québec (Charlesbourg, Québec)
  • Rivière-du-Loup
  • Rouyn-Noranda
    Source: Réseau Environnement
Sherbrooke is now eligible to enter the North American competition which is organized by the American Water Works Association and will be held in Las Vegas next June.

Québec was not the only province to honour its best drinking water. In September a taste test was held at the Western Canada Water Conference in Saskatoon. The Buffalo Pond water treatment plant took home top honours, which opens the door to competing in the North American competition along with Sherbrooke.

The British Columbia Water and Waste Association (BCWWA) held its 45th Annual Conference & Trade Show in May of this year in Victoria British Columbia (BC). A similar event was held for tap water on the west coast. This year's winner was the Village of Zeballos, which is located on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island.

"This year we had 10 entrants from across the province that competed for bragging rights of Best Tap Water in BC and the Yukon," Carlie Hucul, Chief Executive Officer of the BCWWA, said. It was the fourth year the challenge was held and it usually consists of "11 to 16 communities" Hucul added, this year "would have been 11 but [a] community's water samples were damaged in transit."

Criteria for entry is very simple. Entrants must be "a water purveyor that delivers drinking water in BC or the Yukon, [and] the water sample must be collected after the treatment process and from the tap of an end user," Hucul explained.

Hucul said that this is a "friendly competition [and] is held to help raise awareness about the important role our water systems play in protecting public health and the environment." In the four years of this competition, no one has been refused entry.

The format of the competition is reminiscent of wine tastings, and like the Québec competition had a panel of three judges. Water is judged on appearance, aroma, taste, aftertaste and overall judgement. Here is the range for each criterion;

Criteria                         Low End                         High End
Appearance/Clarity             Cloudy                            Crystal Clear
Aroma                          Offensive Odour                    Aroma-Free
Taste                             Gritty                                      Light
Aftertaste              Palate Cleanser, Please!                 No Aftertaste
Overall              Wouldn't Let My Dog Drink It!          The Champagne of Water
Source: Carlie Hucul

It is important that people are informed when the quality of their water is negatively impacted. It is equally important to recognize water purveyors who provide the highest quality of water. Here we have two examples of the best water that Canada has to offer.

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