Judges Samantha Rahn

River water beaten out

The City of Campbell River put its award-winning drinking water to the test this week.

The city went head-to-head against 13 other municipalities in a quest to lay claim to the best tap water in B.C. Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager, said the city was confident going in to the competition.

“We entered because we know we have great water,” Peters said. “I do know the results were so close. Everyone was really close in quality. They’d never seen it so tight.”

But after nearly an hour and a half of taste testing, the District of Hope was proclaimed the winner of the third annual Best of the Best Tap Water Taste Test.

The event was hosted by the BC Water and Waste Association in Whistler as part of BC Water Week.

Hope, which gets its water from an aquifer, was the clear winner, with runner up nods going to Squamish and Port Alberni. Results beyond that were not tracked. Despite not placing, Peters said Campbell Riverites can still be proud of their drinking water.

“We have great water here,” Peters said. “We don’t treat it or filter it because it’s fabulous at the source.”

The city’s drinking water comes from John Hart Lake. It then passes through the BC Hydro penstocks at the generating station and from there the water goes through the city’s ultra violet disinfection facility before travelling through the water pipes and ending up in our taps.

“The lake system and the reservoir system provides fabulous water,” Peters said. “It’s a stable system.”

And that hasn’t gone unrecognized. In 2007, the city took fourth place – and an honourable mention – in the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting competition which pits roughly 14 countries from around the world against each other.

It’s been a feather in the city’s cap ever since. But at a provincial level, the city didn’t fare as well, matched up against the best of the best drinking water providers from both B.C. and the Yukon.

A panel of “aqualiers” or water taste professionals, judged water samples based on appearance, aroma, taste, feel, aftertaste and overall impression. Hope was crowned the winner for its hard mineral texture, absence of aroma and no lingering aftertaste.

The small community that lies at the foot of the Coquihalla Highway and to the east of the Lower Mainland, took the title away from Chilliwack, which did not return to the competition to defend its title.