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ABQ water ties for third in the nation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Next time you take a drink of Albuquerque water, you might want to swirl it around in your mouth a bit, roll its texture over your tongue, savor its bouquet, appreciate it.

Albuquerque’s drinking water tied for third with Boston’s water in the American Water Works Association’s 11th annual taste test Tuesday in Anaheim, Calif.

“It’s a testament to the hard work of water utility employees to make sure we have safe, reliable and good-tasting water every day,” said David Morris, public affairs officer for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority. “If you have had the misfortune to live in a place where they have bad-tasting water, you will know there’s a difference. I have lived in places where the water is foul.”

Morris commented by phone Wednesday from Anaheim, where he was attending the American Water Works Association Annual Conference and Exposition, the site of the taste test.

The Big Sky water system in Billings, Mont., won first place, and Universal City, Texas, took second in the competition, which featured entries by 29 municipalities from around the country.

Morris said water was judged according to standards of taste and smell.

Albuquerque’s drinking water is a blend of groundwater from the local aquifer and surface water from the San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project.

This marks the first time Albuquerque’s water has made it to the finals. It earned its place there by beating out Denver in the Rocky Mountain section competition, held at the Albuquerque Convention Center in September.

The water utility submitted the water samples for the regional competition and this week’s finals. In both cases, the samples were taken from a drinking fountain in the lobby of the city-county government center. Morris admits there was nothing scientific about selecting that fountain.

“I was in a hurry to get over to the Convention Center (in September), and that was the closest fountain,” he said.