Mackay takes water prize
Mackay’s water has been judged Australia’s best drop.
The prize given by the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia came after sample were flown from across the country to be judged in Dunkeld, in regional Victoria.
The competition was judged by both drinking water experts and members of the public who were invited to do a blind taste test on the samples, served in 20-millilitre biodegradable shot glasses.
Organiser Craig Mathisen said the judges considered the clarity and smell of the sample, but ultimately taste is the final decider.
“The vernacular is similar to a wine tasting competition,” he told the ABC.
“There may be an earthiness to the sample, or a fishiness, if it's come from a coastal area.
“In between samples, we actually get people to smell some coffee beans to neutralise their palate.”
Water from the Mackay Regional Council’s Marian Water Treatment plant, in northern Queensland, was chosen as the winner.
Mackay’s water will now represent Australia at the Berkeley Springs International Tap Water Tasting competition in the US.
With much of Australia in drought, the competition helps highlight water security issues and the science behind ensuring a good supply.
Mr Mathisen said the sample from Western Australia was a good example.
“It's a mixture of desalination water, a ground water source, as well as a reservoir,” he said.
“They mix the three of those sources, then put it through the treatment facility then pump it all the way to Kalgoorlie.
“So that water's journey may have been 600 kilometres out of where it was taken out of the sea as part of that desal process, and then the people of Kalgoorlie do have a water supply.”
The competition also encourages people to use water sparingly.
“Most people will have turned on the tap this morning, made a cup of coffee, had a shower, and not given much thought to the journey of that water at all,” Mr Mathisen said.
“So for us it's raising an awareness of how precious a resource it is.
“So the conversation is about water scarcity and security, ensuring that future communities have got water supply that we all need — water sustains life, and without it we're nowhere.”