Greeley’s water rated best in the United States
Tyler Silvy / Greeley Tribune
Greeley ought to bottle this stuff.The water in your tap — the stuff you pay pennies per gallon for — just earned recognition as the best tasting water in the United States.This week, the American Water Works Association rated Greeley’s water the best tasting in the nation, as Greeley beat out 33 other regional winners. The city also became the first to win the national competition and People’s Choice Award at the organization’s annual conference in the 13-year history of the competition.Greeley also is the first Colorado municipality to win the award.And then there’s this: This was the first year Greeley has entered the contest.“I was hopeful,” Greeley Water and Sewer Director Burt Knight said. “But I never expected to win both awards.”Still, Knight said the awards didn’t tell him anything he didn’t already know.“What it does is it confirms the choice our forefathers made when they went up to the mouth of the Poudre and built the treatment plant and pipeline in 1907,” Knight said. “I know we have high-quality water. All we needed to do is get everybody else to agree.”Now that they have, Knight and others are pondering how, exactly, they’ll spike the football.“It’s something we’ll need to think about leveraging,” City Manager Roy Otto said, adding the city has used its extensive water portfolio to attract businesses in the past. “But quality is something we need to spend time communicating to people — not only to residents, but others who might be coming to Greeley, as well.”There are strict rules for the water competition. Greeley was sent special containers and coolers. Officials took water from one of the treatment plants and shipped it off to Philadelphia, where the annual convention was held.Once there, contest officials remove any labels to ensure a blind taste test for judges.To get there, Greeley had to win its regional competition last fall. And as a result of its national win this year, Greeley gets an automatic bid to the national competition next year.Will the city enter?“If you’re the Broncos, and you win the Super Bowl, you want to defend your title,” Knight said.But that’s for next year. For now, Greeley officials are happy celebrating the victory.Otto said he’s proud of the tradition and legacy of water in Greeley, saying the award is an affirmation of that.“W.D. Farr has a big smile on his face in heaven right now,” Otto said, referencing the Greeley water pioneer.After Farr died, Greeley bottled some of the town’s water, labeling it “Greeley Gold.” Otto still has a bottle.“I would put Greeley’s water supply up against any bottled water across the country,” Otto said.— Tyler Silvy covers government and politics for The Greeley Tribune. Reach him at email@example.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter.
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