tap water into jug

Water samples from water treatment operations across South Australia are battling it out for first place in the state heat of IXOM’s Best Tasting Tap Water Competition, being held on 7 August at the Water Industry Operations Conference and Expo.

A crowd favourite sample from Morgan Water Treatment Plant, along with 2018’s state winner, Woolpunda – both located in the Riverland – will be contending again, but SA Water’s Senior Manager of Water Expertise and Research, Dr Daniel Hoefel, said they might be in for some tough competition from the Hawker and Myponga entries.

“Just under 12 months ago, we introduced an alternative method for treating water supplied to the Fleurieu Peninsula town of Myponga, changing the final disinfection process from chlorine to chloramine,” Dr Hoefel said.

“This upgrade was put in place to help overcome source water quality challenges, but also improve the taste of the local community’s tap water.

“To be fair, our Morgan and Woolpunda treatment facilities also produce chloraminated water, but maybe this year people will go for the ‘new kid on the block’, Myponga.

“Of course, they could all be piped at the post by our only desalinated water entry, coming all the way from Hawker in the central Flinders Ranges.”

The Hawker Desalination Plant has been operating for around five years, and uses reverse osmosis technology to treat brackish groundwater that is naturally high in salt, iron and manganese. A substantially-improved supply is then piped to around 200 customers.

“It’s likely some of the community judges in particular haven’t tasted desalinated water before and that uniqueness might work to its advantage,” Dr Hoefel said.

In addition to Hawker, Myponga, Morgan and Woolpunda water treatment plants, this round of the competition will include samples from Cadell, Blanchetown and Mount Pleasant, as well as sites in Happy Valley, Hope Valley, Anstey Hill, Barossa and Little Para, which are operated by SA Water’s metropolitan alliance partner Allwater.

WIOA Chief Operations Officer, Craig Mathisen, said he appreciates the friendly rivalry the competition brings, as well as the opportunity it provides to shine a light on the role of water operators.

“Access to clean, safe tap water is something we can take for granted in Australia, but also something that wouldn’t be possible without the teams of people who run our water treatment plants and networks,” Mr Mathisen said.

“We like to use events like this to recognise them and show our appreciation.”

The team with the winning water sample will compete for the Australian title at a WIOA-hosted event in Victoria in October, as part of National Water Week.

The winner of the national competition will then go on to represent Australia in the international competition held in the US in early 2020.

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