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Queensland’s Mackay Regional Council (MRC) was named runner up at the Academy Awards of water, coming one point behind the winner. 

The decision, announced at the annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition in West Virginia, US, on 22 February, follows Victorian utility Wannon Water’s silver medal at the awards in 2019.

According to MRC Director of Engineering and Community Infrastructure, Jason Devitt, who was there with Water Treatment Manager, Stuart Boyd, it was a tough competition against 18 of the world’s best.

Beating out over 100 waters from across the globe over three days, the final 19 entrants were judged by a panel on clarity, taste and odour.

Berkeley Springs locals were also invited to try the samples and make their own judgements.

“Stuart and I had a go at that ourselves, it was really tough,” Mr Devitt said.

“We always thought our water was pretty good, but to be up there with the best, we could never have expected or anticipated where we would come.”

The council was just one vote behind the winner, California’s Mission Springs Water District.

“We knew we had high-quality water in our region, and to have that confirmed at an international level is so exciting,” Mr Devitt said.

“This is absolutely testament to the entire water treatment team, who all work so hard every day to make sure we can provide the very best water to our community.”

MRC’s win followed its victory at the Best Tasting Tap Water Competition in October 2019, conducted around Australia by the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia (WIOA) with support from Ixom.

Water from MRC’s Marian Water Treatment Plant was judged against samples from across the country, including New South Wales’ Shoalhaven Water, TasWater, SA Water, Western Australia’s Water Corporation and Barwon Water in Victoria. 

MRC’s sample came from the Pioneer River, which originates in the tropical rainforests of Eungella National Park and the Crediton State Forest. 

The treatment plant is located approximately 30kms west of Mackay and supplies the townships of Marian and Mirani with around 6,000 residents in those towns. It is a conventional water treatment plant using the processes of PAC pre dosing, coagulation, sedimentation, filtration and chlorination.

Mr Devitt said the silver medal would help show Mackay locals how high quality their tap water is and commended the “unsung heroes” at the Marian treatment plant for their tireless efforts to provide safe, reliable water year-round.

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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