Rossarden’s municipal drinking water the toast of the US

An old mining town in Tasmania’s north-east has won a major award at a US water-tasting event dubbed the “world’s most prestigious”.

Rossarden, in the Fingal Valley, took out the municipal water award at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting event held in West Virginia earlier this month.

Berkeley Springs is claimed to be the largest and longest-running water tasting in the world, with awards in the municipal, bottled and still water categories as well as for purified drinking water and best packaging design.

Until three years ago, Rossarden’s drinking water was on a public health notice due to contamination from the nearby operations of the Aberfoyle Tin Mining Co.

Northern Midlands Council Mayor Mary Knowles, who has lived in Rossarden for 33 years, told the ABC she was excited for the town to receive positive international recognition after years of water supply issues.

“[When] I moved there from the mainland, the water was the sweetest water I’d ever tasted, but it was terribly dirty because of all the old pipes,” Cr Knowles said.

“[Now, we are] celebrating having the world’s best drop straight from a tap.”

Much of the credit for the turnaround in Rossarden’s water quality lies with TasWater, Tasmania’s council-owned water and sewerage corporation.

TasWater has undertaken major overhauls of drinking water infrastructure in Rossarden and other towns in Tasmania to deal with heavy metals and other contaminants.

TasWater acting chief executive Juliet Mercer told the ABC the award was a nod to the corporation’s 24 Glasses – Regional Towns Water Supply Program, which accelerated works to remove public health alerts from 29 regional towns.

The state-wide 24 Glasses program saw the installation of 17 new water treatment plants, including one at Rossarden, 16 reservoirs, and more than 70km of new trunk mains. It was completed in August 2018.