The neighbourhood of Clearbrook in Abbotsford is well named. Those seeking crystal clear tap water need only to head to South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Road.
The Clearbrook Waterworks District won the title of best tap water in the world at the 24th annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting last weekend.
It is the third gold medal for the district.
“Naturally, we’re quite excited. We kind of had a good sense that we’d win again this year, since the water that was sent for the tasting came from our newest well,” said Etienne van Straaten, administrator for the Clearbrook Waterworks District.
The district’s tap water is pumped direct from a 100 sq. km. underground aquifer to about 15,000 people. No chlorine, fluoride, or other chemicals are added.
The system goes back to a 1953 agreement when members of what was then Clearbrook Village decided to build a piping network to supply potable water directly to houses. Today, residents in Clearbrook still use this system, improved many times since the original setup. The rest of Abbotsford gets chemically treated water mainly from Norrish Creek in Mission.
Van Straaten says that he can easily distinguish between Abbotsford and Clearbrook tap water; the former smells and tastes of chlorine.
There is no big secret to Clearbrook’s success. It simply comes down to the clean 200-year old water in the aquifer, the cleanliness of the wells and plumbing in Clearbrook, and the frequent water quality tests.
“The fact of the matter is, we pride ourselves on providing the world’s best drinking water. The whole team works hard at making sure the water coming from the aquifer is pure. When it gets to your house, there’s nothing that influences the quality of the water,” said van Straaten.
Judges at the International Water Tasting selected the winners after hours of tasting entries from 14 countries across six continents.
Winning waters were clear, odourless, tasted “clean,” felt “light,” and had an aftertaste that “left you thirsty for more.”
Another B.C. municipality, the tiny town of Greenwood on Highway 3, won bronze in the category of best tap water. Other notable Canadian winners were the two Manitoba-based gold and silver medal recipients of best sparkling water: Canadian Gold Sparkling Mineral Water, and Jackson Springs Natural Premium Spring, respectively.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” said event moderator and water master Arthur von Wiesenberger in a press release. “It also speaks to the impressively high caliber of the waters entered.”
Those wishing to sample the world’s best drinking water can ask for tap at some of the local businesses, such as the Dairy Queen at South Fraser Way and Clearbrook Rd. Or they can make friends with residents in the area.