North Marshall Water receives national recognition

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National Rural Water Association President Kent Watson (left) presents North Marshall Water District Superintendent Bobby Gifford with the gold medal award for America's Best Tasting Drinking Water during last week's annual Rural Water Rally in Washington, D.C.

North Marshall Water District claimed the 2020 title of America's Best Tasting Drinking Water at the 21st Anniversary of the Great American Water Taste Test, held on Feb. 5 in Washington, D.C., as part of the National Rural Water Association's Rural Water Rally.

North Marshall Water District Superintendent Bobby Gifford accepted the gold medal award during last week's awards ceremony and credited his staff.

"My staff does a fantastic job and that's how the quality and the purity of our water stays so good," he said. "They don't get enough credit and they very well deserve it."

North Marshall Water District began in 1961; with wells as the main source of water, it serves 5,600 connections in the community it serves.

The silver medal award was tied between Mapleturn Utilities of Indiana and Jenkensville Water Company of South Carolina; the bronze medal went to California Pines Community Services District located in California. The other finalist in the top five was Auburn Board of Public Works from Nebraska.

The five award-winning water systems competed against 37 total entries from across the country. State Rural Water Associations holds their own taste test finals and sends the winners to compete at the Great American Water Taste Test.

These finalists are selected in a preliminary round, with the finals judged by a panel of experts. The honorary judging panel this year included Edna Primrose, Assistant Administrator, USDA Rural Development Office of Water & Environment Programs; Diane Nellor, Clerk of the Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; and Morgan Ulmer, Clerk of the Senate Appropriation Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.

Judges rated each water sample based on its clarity, bouquet and taste. Each of the judges commended the quality of water that Rural Water provides and noted the difficulty in choosing the best tasting water in the nation.