After a hard fought battle, the winner of South Australia’s best tasting tap water for 2019 has been announced at the Water Industry Operators Association SA Conference and Expo on 7 August.
Water produced from SA Water’s Swan Reach Water Treatment Plant in the Murraylands went up against more than a dozen samples from other water facilities across the state and came out on top as the best tasting tap water.
Now in its seventh year of competition, water from treatment plants around the state were judged by their peers on odour, appearance and taste.
SA Water’s Senior Manager of Water Expertise and Research, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said in the past four years, the state winners have all come from the Riverland or Murraylands region.
“You could say there’s something in the water!” Mr Hoefel said.
“In all seriousness though, we’ve found even through our own community blind water taste tests, people do tend to favour water which has been sourced from the River Murray and has been treated using a disinfection process called chloramination, as is the case at Swan Reach.
“Chloramine is an alternate treatment method to chlorine, which results in a less detectable taste and odour for end users. We use chloramine across most of our regional water networks, with around 220,000 of our customers enjoying this product.
“Around 32,000 of these customers receive water which has been treated at the SA Water-owned, TRILITY-operated Swan Reach facility, including towns in the immediate Murraylands region as well as in the Barossa and Clare Valleys.
“A further 28,000 homes and businesses, some as far as Yorke Peninsula, are supplied a mix of water from our Swan Reach and nearby Morgan Water Treatment Plants via a long, mostly above ground pipeline.
“The Swan Reach facility is one of our newer sites, becoming operational in 1998, and can produce up to 90 million litres of water a day.”
SA Water samples entered into today’s competition were taken from water treatment plants at Anstey Hill, Barmera, Barossa, Blanchetown, Cadell, Happy Valley, Hawker, Hope Valley, Little Para, Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Summit, Swan Reach and Woolpunda.
Swan Reach will compete for Australia’s best tasting tap water in October as part of National Water Week, in the home of 2018’s winner – Hamilton in Victoria. The winner of the national competition will then go on to represent Australia in the international competition held next year in the US.
While the competition itself is all in the spirit of good fun there is a meaningful undertone to it, recognising the hard work of those who ensure safe, clean drinking water is available to us every day
Stephen Rasdell, Ixom’s General Manager of Water, said that there’s an important reason for Ixom’s involvement in the taste test competition.
“We have been involved in Australian water treatment for some 80 years and are incredibly proud of the work being done in this space. Ixom has the expertise and experience to ensure high-quality drinking water is supplied to homes around Australia,” Mr Rasdell said.
“We’re thrilled to be a part of this event and to celebrate the outstanding achievements of individuals and communities in supplying and maintaining exceptional water quality.”
Craig Mathisen, WIOA Chief Operations Officer, said, “Members of the general public would probably be surprised to learn the complexities involved in delivering high-quality water to our taps each day.
“The competition is a testament to the excellent quality of Australian water and to the diligence and commitment of the operational employees who deliver it to our communities’ day in, day out.
“Many of us turn on taps for a drink, to cook or shower, with little consideration of what it takes to operate and maintain the water infrastructure.
“We want to celebrate our unsung heroes – the water operators and the maintenance crews who work all year round to ensure we have high-quality water, which is essential to keep us alive.”