The Southwest Water Authority celebrated their 30 years of providing award-winning quality water to southwest North Dakota in style, after judges at an International Water Tasting Contest for 2021 awarded North Dakota’s SWA the bronze medal — placing third in the United States for having the best tasting tap water in the world.

The 31st Annual Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting Contest was held Saturday, June 5, 2021, in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The nine judges spent hours rating the waters based on clarity and taste from tap waters sourced from the United States, Canada and 14 other countries. They were instructed by perennial water master, Arthur von Wiesenberger, to look, sniff and taste each water under guidelines similar to wine tastings.

Dubbed by BuzzFeed and The Week as “the world’s most prestigious water tasting” the competition pitted municipal waters head-to-head to determine winners.

To date, water entries from six continents have been represented at the international contest, with more than 700 distinct waters entered in the international competition. Representatives from Greece, New Zealand and Korea, among others, will challenge for supremacy against Southwest North Dakota, which the SWA hopes will garner the Southwest North Dakota international acclaim.

Since 1986, the Southwest Pipeline Project has been constructing an efficient network of pipelines, pump stations, reservoirs and treatment facilities to bring quality water to the region.

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"It was another amazing year for SWA having again been recognized at one of the longest running and largest water tasting contests in the world," Mary Massad, Southwest Water Authority's manager and CEO, said. "Hats off to our staff, Board of Directors, the State Water Commission, consultants, partners and supporters for their hard work and efforts. Because of them we are able to serve award-winning tap water each and every time you turn on the tap.”

Massad added, "Reaching rural areas where people continue to wait is dependent on everyone’s support."

SWA is a political subdivision established by the North Dakota State Legislature in 1991 to manage, operate and maintain the Southwest Pipeline Project (SWPP). and have entered the prestigious contest since 2013 — consistently placing among the top ten.

To date, 33 communities, more than 7,350 rural service locations, 24 contract customers, 24 raw-water customers, two rural water systems and two raw water depots are served by the SWPP. Southwest Water Authority continues its mission of Quality Water for Southwest North Dakota.

SWA is governed by a 15-member board of directors representing the following counties: Adams, Billings, Bowman, Dunn, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Slope and Stark, the cities of Dickinson and Mandan.