The Best Municipal Water for 2021 at the Berkely Springs International Water Tasting Event in West Virginia has come from a small regional town in Tasmania, which was once deemed unsafe for consumption.

The award went to Rossarden Water Treatment Plant in Tasmania’s Northern Midlands.

The global event judged water from five continents, 14 countries and 19 US states.

Significantly, this is the first time water from Australia has won the prestigious award, which is a major coup for the nation and the state.

TasWater Acting CEO, Juliet Mercer, said the international award was a testament to the hard work that went into the organisation’s 24glasses Regional Towns Water Supply Program, which resulted in the removal of all public health alerts on Tasmanian drinking water.

“Just over three years ago, Rossarden was under a Do Not Consume notice,” Ms Mercer said.

“A safe, clean and reliable water supply underpins the health and well-being of our communities, which was the driving motivation behind the 24glasses program.

“The program saw public health alerts removed from 29 Tasmanian towns and drinking water systems through the installation of 17 new water treatment plants, 16 reservoirs and more than 70km of new trunk mains.

“Seeing a town where so recently you could not even drink the water, now recognised as having the best drinking water in the world is an incredible result and is a great source of pride to TasWater.

“This global recognition reinforces that the standard of treatment processes we have implemented is truly world class.”

The Rossarden Water Treatment Plant is run in partnership with water utility services provider TRILITY, which built and designed the facility as part of TasWater’s 24glasses Regional Towns Water Supply Program Work Package One in 2018.

TRILITY Managing Director, Francois Gouws, said it was a great honour for Rossarden to take out the Best Municipal Water for 2021 in the world, against some high-calibre competition.

“This makes us very proud of our team of dedicated operators at TRILITY who put in a lot of work each week at these sites to ensure we are providing the community with great tasting, safe and reliable drinking water, which is leaps and bounds ahead of what they previously had access to in Rossarden,” Mr Gouws said.

The Water Industry Operators Association (WIOA) Chief Operations Officer, Craig Mathisen, said WIOA conducted taste tests across Australia before the top drops were decided to represent the country.

“This celebrates our unsung heroes – the water operators and their crews who, despite the impacts of COVID-19 and before that drought, fires and floods, ensure we have water which is essential to keep us alive,” Mr Mathisen said.

“Our members, including TasWater and TRILITY, work diligently to deliver high-quality drinking water to their communities.”

Tasmanian Minister for Finance, Michael Ferguson, congratulated TasWater on its success in transforming Rossarden’s water supply, with the achievement testament to the benefits of TasWater’s focus on removing public health alerts.

“Without investment in water infrastructure, the Rossarden area would still be facing a “Do Not Consume” notice,” Mr Ferguson said. 

“The State Government’s $200 million much-needed capital injected into TasWater will accelerate its capital works program, allowing more Tasmanian households to benefit from modernised infrastructure over the next decade, just like the residents of Rossarden have.”

The international recognition acknowledges that TasWater is delivering great tasting, safe and reliable drinking water to Tasmanians at a world-class standard.

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