The 20th Annual Saratoga County Water Tasting Competition had a surprise outcome this year, as the water supplies in Halfmoon and Clifton Park tied for first place as the best tasting waters in Saratoga County.
The competition featured water from five different municipalities in Saratoga County: Clifton Park, Saratoga Springs, Wilton, Halfmoon and Waterford.
Forty-five people participated in the contest. Each person tasted all five waters, labeled A thru E, then voted for their first and second favorites.
Manoj Ajmera, a retired state engineer, created the contest during National Drinking Water Week in order to create awareness about the water in the area.
Water is the second most important commodity for humans next to air, Ajmera said.
The state Health Department monitors public water supplies so each one is drinkable, but taste varies. According to Ajmera there were several factors that contributed to the taste of drinking water including the minerals in it and how long the water stays in the tanks.
"New York is blessed with very good water," he said.
The next phase is the regional competition, which will be held in Albany during Alive at Five on Thursday, Aug. 10.
Ajmera said he is not sure if both Halfmoon and Clifton Park water supplies will be represented in the regional contest. He said generally only one public water supply per county moves on so there may have to be a "taste off" to decide the winner.
The winner of the regional competitions moves on to the state competition held at the State Fair in Syracuse. Ajmera said there is always a lot of interest for that event, usually drawing about 400 people.
About 150 public water supplies participate in the contest each year. There are five regions: New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Ithaca.
Because votes determine the outcome of the contest, it is based on people's varying tastes and opinions.
"It is so subjective, like the difference between Coke and Pepsi, everyone has different tastes," Ajmera said.
This contest is a source of pride for many communities. Ajmera said last year's state winner, Hoosick Falls, has a sign that reads,
"Home of the best tasting water in New York State."
Ajmera said the contest has not grown much in size over 20 years, but everyone looks forward to the event.
"Sometimes interest goes down, but 20 years is a long time and it is still pretty popular," Ajmera said. ""