Water from SA Water’s one person-operated Woolpunda Water Treatment Plant in the state’s Riverland will tomorrow be competing for the title of ‘best tasting tap water in Australia’.
Woolpunda is one of five entries from across the country to be sampled by expert judges and community members as part of the Water Industry Operators Association of Australia’s (WIOA) annual event.
This year, the competition is being held in Toowoomba, Queensland, which took out the 2017 prize.
Liam Tothill from SA Water’s Production and Treatment team said the chance to showcase Woolpunda’s great tasting water on a national stage is a big thing for the little treatment plant.
“Woolpunda is definitely one of our smaller facilities both in physical size and supply area, providing water to less than 800 people,” Liam said.
“But it works just as hard as any other site, getting around 700,000 litres of water a day through a network of more than 240 kilometres of pipe, including to Country Lands located up to 50 kilometres from the treatment plant.
“Water that goes through this system is treated with chloramine, which is a disinfection method particularly suited to very long networks with lower numbers of customer connections - meaning the water takes longer to get to properties, leading to a higher water age.
“More than 220,000 SA Water customers currently enjoy drinking water treated by chloramine. It has a less distinct smell and taste than our chlorinated supplies, and that’s why we think it does so well in blind taste tests.”
Woolpunda Water Treatment Plant has been producing water since 2009 and was built as part of SA Water's Country Water Quality Improvement Program. It sources and treats raw water from the River Murray, before it's delivered to towns including Wunkar and Mantung.
Water samples entered into this week’s competition include from Yeppoon in Queensland (Livingstone Shire Council), Port Macquarie in New South Wales (Port Macquarie Hastings Council), Bryn Estyn in Tasmania (TasWater), Woolpunda in South Australia (SA Water) and Hamilton in Victoria (Wannon Water).
SA Water Woolpunda Water Treatment Plant operator Greg Haynes said he’s looking forward to his water going head to head with samples from the other states, and believes Woolpunda is in for a real shot at the top gong.
“I know how hard our wider Riverland team works to produce quality water every day, so I’m hopeful this will translate into a win,” Greg said.
“It’s great events like this exist to recognise our efforts, and provide an opportunity to get to know other water operators and share our knowledge and experience with them.
“It’d be the icing on the cake if we can take the trophy home to South Australia and have next year’s national competition in Woolpunda.”
The winner of the national competition will go on to represent Australia in the international competition held in the United States in early 2019.
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