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HOW TO SET UP A WATER TASTE TEST IN YOUR AREA
 

A water taste competition is a fun and exciting way to draw attention to the complexities of delivering safe and great-tasting tap water. When held during your annual conference, Drinking Water Week or some other section event, it can also serve as a news hook to increase media interest in your event or celebration. Below are a few items to keep in mind when developing your own taste test.


DRAFTING THE RULES

First and foremost you must determine the rules for your competition. For instance, who is eligible, what the requirements for participation are and how the samples will be judged are all items to consider.


ELIGIBILITY

When deciding who is eligible for the taste test, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Participating utilities should be affiliated with ISAWWA either through utility or individual memberships.
  • Participants should not have had any state or federal drinking water violations (MCL, monitoring, record-keeping, etc.) for a specified period of time. AWWA's national competition requires participants to have had no violations during the calendar year prior to the competition.

REQUIREMENTS

You must then decide what the requirements for participation will be.

  • How you want the water samples delivered (type/size of container; in person or shipped)?
  • What is the deadline for delivering the water?
  • Will you require a utility representative to be present?

CONTEST JUDGING

Things to consider when picking your panel:

  • Who will act as judges (public figures, Section board members, flavor profile analyzers, etc.)?
  • How will the samples be judged (Will it be a scale of 1-10, 1-5, etc.)?
  • Will you rank all samples, just announce the winner or the top 3, etc.?
  • Will you have different categories based on size of water system, source water, etc.?*

*Please note that if you do break up your competition into multiple categories, you will need to have a Best in Show to send the winner to the ACE Taste Test.


EVENT PLANNING

Once you have set your contest rules, it is time to start planning the actual event.


DEFINING YOUR EVENT

You must also determine the purpose of the event. Obviously, the purpose of the contest is to determine the best tasting water. However, do you want your event to be a media event, a formal event or a casual event? Will the event simply be about the water tasting or will you use it as a platform to discuss other issues?


IDENTIFYING YOUR AUDIENCE

For a formal technical event you would expect your audience to be members of the water community who have a basic understanding of water taste and odor issues. For a more casual media or community event you would expect the audience to be filled with journalists, local families and others with far less technical understanding.


DETERMINING YOUR PROGRAM

When drafting your program agenda, you should keep in mind your goals and audience. Will you include lots of technical information or will you provide more explanatory information and gear your presentation to the layman?


HERE ARE JUST A FEW OTHER ITEMS TO KEEP IN MIND FOR YOUR WATER TASTING EVENT:

  • It's a good idea to keep your samples covered until they're ready to be tasted.
  • Samples should be tasted at room temperature to allow for any tastes or odors that are present to be detected more easily.

 

 BELOW IS THE INFORMATION ON BEING ABLE TO
COMPETE AT ACE
 

ELIGIBILITY

  • The People’s Choice and Best of the Best Tap Water Taste Tests are open to the most recent winners of AWWA Section taste tests (the previous year’s winner if they hold their test after ACE; the current year’s winner if they hold their test before ACE).
  • Section winners must not have incurred any state or federal drinking water violations (MCL, monitoring, recordkeeping, etc.) during the previous 12 months.
  • The local utility for the ACE host city and the previous year’s Best of the Best winner will be invited to participate in the taste test as well.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Personal attendance is required for the competition. If there will not be a representative from a competing water system attending ACE, the director of the system may appoint an alternate representative from the Section to submit their sample and attend the contest on their behalf.
  • Six samples should sent, each in a one liter container. Glass containers are preferable, but utilities can use the container of their choosing. Each sample should be clearly identified with the name of the water system and Section it represents.
  • Samples must be shipped to the location specified by the date specified. If utilities have issues shipping their samples, they may email Deirdre Mueller.
  • Samples will be served at room temperature to help the judges better assess each sample.
  • Section winners who have incurred any state or federal drinking water violations (MCL, monitoring, recordkeeping, etc.) during the previous 12 months are not eligible to compete. Questions about this policy may also be addressed to Deirdre Mueller.

CONTEST JUDGING

  • Judging for the People’s Choice award will be open to all ACE attendees.
  • The official Best of the Best judging panel will be a mix of local public figures and flavor-profile analyzers.
  • Samples will be judged on a 10-point scale from Good (1) to Best (10).
  • Scores will be tabulated and the winner will be announced immediately following the contest.
  • Only the winning three samples will be announced – samples will not be ranked nor will scores be released.
 Still have Questions?  Please contact the Water Taste Test Chair - Jennifer Barlas
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