Drink up! Missouri holds statewide water taste contest

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ASHLAND - Who has the best tasting water in Missouri?

The Missouri Rural Water Association (MRWA) held its annual open house and fish fry Wednesday, which has also become the final judging of the statewide water taste test. 

Judges representing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development, and local governments decided which system has the best tasting water for 2015. 

The blind taste test is based on three qualities: visual clarity, free from objectionable odor, and good taste. 

The judges bestowed top honors on Madison County Public Water Supply District 1.

MRWA said the annual taste test is fun for everyone involved, but it's also one of the ways it emphasizes the hard work of water utility employees in providing safe water to customers. 

Event coordinator Tom Hyatt said the annual water taste test isn't just an event but a reminder of the importance of drinking water. 

"Water is a very valuable resource, it sustains our very lives and why we do this, Missouri Rural Water Association is to help bring to light the importance of water in our everyday life," Hyatt said. "We really need to be investing in our infrastructure so that our children and our grandchildren still have clean, safe water coming out of the tap."

United States Department of Agriculture Assistant Administrator of Water and Environment Programs, Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk said clean water is especially important in rural areas.

"When you have sewer plants that are not operating, they can be contaminating local water waves and getting into aquifers and really doing some damage to our natural resources. The most important thing we can do is to make sure that infrastructure is up to date," Ponti-Lazaruk said.