The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has the best-tasting tap water in the nation, a panel of judges concluded this weekend as part of the 31st annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition, featuring water sourced from 14 countries and 19 states.
Metropolitan garnered top honors in the municipal water category, with its member agency, the City of Santa Ana, coming in at second place.
“While water quality and safety are always our utmost priorities, it’s also important to us that consumers like the taste of our water. Good taste is an important confirmation for consumers of the quality of the water coming from their taps,” Metropolitan General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said. “I want to congratulate all of our employees – the laboratory and operations staff, planners, and engineers– who contribute to delivering the highest quality water for our Southern California region. I also want to commend the City of Santa Ana for their silver medal.”
To help ensure Metropolitan delivers great-tasting water, the agency has a panel of
employees specially trained in the quality-control methods of the food and beverage industry. Metropolitan’s Flavor Profile Analysis Panel meets several times weekly at MWD’s Water Quality Laboratory in La Verne to evaluate samples from throughout the district’s regional treatment and distribution system to maintain quality.
“We pioneered this flavor profile analysis in the 1980s, and it has since become a standard method in the water industry,” said Water Quality Manager Dr. Mic Stewart. “Our panel of tasters take months-long training to become certified sensory analysts to ensure that our customers are receiving the best tasting drinking water.”
Metropolitan’s 2021 gold-medal water originated in Northern California’s Sierra Nevada,
was imported through the State Water Project, treated at the Jensen Water Treatment Plant in Granada Hills with state-of-the-art ozone gas and, as it leaves the plant, receives a small amount of chlorine disinfection to ensure continued quality and safety throughout the distribution system. Metropolitan has entered the international water tasting competition for over two decades, achieving first place in 2008 and 1998; second place in 2000 and 2003; and third place in 2005.
Metropolitan’s rigorous water treatment process at its five plants uses advanced treatment technologies, including ozone as a primary disinfectant, which destroys a wide range of microorganisms and effectively removes unpleasant tastes and odors. The district also tests water for almost 400 different constituents and performs about 250,000 water quality tests annually, ensuring it meets or surpasses stringent federal and state drinking water regulations that protect public health. Water from the Jensen plant is delivered to Metropolitan’s member agencies in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties and is frequently blended with local water supplies before reaching homes and businesses.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is a state-established cooperative that, along with its 26 cities and retail suppliers, provide water for 19 million people in six counties. The district imports water from the Colorado River and Northern California to supplement local supplies, and helps its members to develop increased water conservation, recycling, storage and other resource-management programs.