This Town Has the Best Water in the World in 2023
The finest tap water in the world comes from a place in Canada named – appropriately – Clearbrook. That neighborhood of Abbotsford, British Columbia, won the gold medal for having the best tasting municipal water at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting held February 26. It was the seventh time Clearbrook’s water was awarded the top prize in the worldwide water contest. The 33rd annual event was held at The Country Inn in the historic spa town of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia.
The silver medal in the municipal water category went to another Canadian entrant, North Muskoka, Ontario. The town of St. Paris, Ohio, won bronze for having the best-tasting tap water in the U.S.
Three former gold-medalists — including Clearbrook; Emporia, Kansas; and Eldorado Springs, Colorado — finished in the top five.
“The consistency in winners from year to year with different panels of judges validates the choices,” water expert Arthur von Wiesenberger said on the Berkeley Springs website.
In other categories, the top bottled water award went to Smeraldina Natural Artesian Water of Italy's Mediterranean island of Sardinia. The sparkling water gold medal went to Dijamant Carbonated Mineral Water of Tešanj, Bosnia-Herzogovina. First place for best purified water was a tie between Taifer Group 100% Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan and Taiwan Yes Alkaline Minerals Deep Ocean Water, Hualien City, Taiwan.
The clear rounded bottle from Antipodes, Otakiri, Whakatane, New Zealand earned the gold medal for best package design.
The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting, the world’s most prestigious, awarded medals to waters from four continents. Five continents had waters among the nearly 100 entered.
This year’s nine judges included representatives from ABC7-TV (Washington, DC), and Insider’s Guide to Spas, as well as various regional and national media including newspapers, websites, and online and print magazines. They were trained by von Wiesenberger to look, sniff, and taste each water under guidelines similar to those in a wine tasting. The waters were rated for each attribute including appearance (it should be clear – or slightly opaque for glacial waters), aroma (there should be none), taste (it should taste clean), mouth feel (it should feel light), and aftertaste (it should leave you thirsty for more).
So, what does the world’s best tap water actually taste like? Well, like nothing, according to Jason Hildebrandt, corporate administrator for Clearbrook Waterworks District. “It doesn't leave a taste, and it doesn't leave a feel in your mouth."
Clearbrook’s aquifer, 40 meters underground, is unique, Hildebrandt explained, as it’s protected by a 10-meter layer of clay sitting above. That layer, he says, keeps any contaminants from getting through.
Photos:(from top): Water samples from Clearbrook Waterworks District await final preparation before being sent to the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting. The unchlorinated water is described as “chemically perfect.” (Ryan Federau, Clearbook Waterworks District); Nine judges tasted waters submitted from five continents (Berkeleyspringswatertasting.com); Antipodes Water won gold for best bottled water package design. (Antipodes.co.nz); A water taster's certificate (Berkeleyspringswatertasting.com); "George Washington's Bath Tub" at Berkeley Springs State Park. Washington first visited the hot springs here in 1748 and is said to have soaked in an outdoor tub of this design.