Santa Ana, an Orange County city whose murders, graduation rates and housing values make it constantly in need of a hug, at least has bragging rights when it comes to one thing.
For the second straight year, the county seat's Water Resources Division has been recognized for producing among the best tasting and highest quality H2o in the world.
The Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Festival--a competition in West Virginia that is touted as "the Academy Awards of Water"--brought together tap water from 77 sources, including 32 municipal agencies in the U.S., Canada and South Korea, last month.
Waters were tasted and judged in four separate flights over two days, with judges grading each for appearance (should be clear), aroma (should be none), taste (should taste clean), mouth feel (should feel light), and aftertaste (should leave people thirsty for more).
Santa Ana's tap water scored high enough to earn the festival's Silver Medal, which would make it the Viola Davis to gold medalist Greenwood, British Columbia, Canada's Meryl Streep. (Actually, Greenwood's water was deemed "Best in the World" and St. Henry, Ohio's was "Best in the USA," but I didn't want to screw up my Davis-Streep line.)
The Silver Medal "demonstrates the stringent standards we set for our tap water, which are above and beyond the drinking water health standards required by both state and federal agencies," says Ray Burk, Santa Ana's Water Resources manager, in a statement issued by the city.
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Also quoted is Councilwoman and frequent Gustavo punching bag Claudia Alvarez, who presides over the Orange County Water District: "Our city council and staff work diligently to provide, protect and preserve one of our most precious resources. As a community, we can all be good stewards of our natural resources. Rather than buying bottled water, we can reduce our eco footprint by simply turning on our faucets and, at the same time, enjoy the healthiest and best tasting tap water possible."
Burk's agency notes that water for 2.5 million people, including Santa Anans, is drawn from the vast groundwater basin under northern and central Orange County. Ratepayers will get to read all about the latest water quality advancements in a notice tucked into their May bills.
Because taste and quality aren't free.