Los Alamos County Water Taste Test Results: ‘Not To Be Shallow … But Our Water Is Well Liked’


A-quart-ing to research from the Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU), the community has a thirst for the water here.

DPU conducted blind taste tests at the recent Earth Day Festival in which local tap water was pitted against bottled Evian and bottled Smartwater. Are you curious wet DPU found out in this battle of the bottles?

When taste testers were asked if they preferred to drink tap water or bottled water at home, only 7 percent went against the tide to say they drank bottled water. Admittedly, there were several testers who were spilt between the two, but most of them opted to go with the flow and say they preferred to drink tap water.

The testers were challenged to identify Los Alamos tap water by taste alone when given samplings of tap, Evian and Smartwater. While many of the testers thought the challenge would be a drop in the bucket, others were awash with doubt.

Not to be shallow, but the DPU staff enjoyed hearing how much community members like the water here. It made them feel like real liters in the industry. After the votes poured in, nearly 200 people participated in the challenge. Of those, 51 percent correctly identified Los Alamos tap water, while 27 percent thought Evian’s bottled spring water tasted like tap water, and 22 percent chose Smartwater, which is bottled by another municipal water source.

So wet in the world was the purpose of this test? Impact. It is environmentally conscientious to drink water from the tap and DPU provides excellent, affordable drinking water. According to EarthDay.org, Americans purchase about 50 billion single-use water bottles per year, or 13 bottles per month for every person in the country. Less than 10 percent of plastic is not recycled and plastic doesn’t decompose, so plastic waste matters.

Los Alamos County’s tap water comes from the Rio Grande Basin, where it is pulled from the western side of the Española sub-basin which is primarily made up of unconfined sediment aquifers. DPU’s water production wells range in depth from 1,519 feet to 3,092 feet below the surface. The water is not filtered but is processed for disinfection by adding chlorine. DPU does not add fluoride as it already occurs naturally in the water that is pumped here.

Bottled water comes from a variety of sources, including springs, wells, surface waters and municipal water taps. When bottled, the water is often filtered or enhanced in some way. Some companies change mineral content by filtering out all minerals before adding other minerals or electrolytes back in.

Furthermore, as a community-owned utility, DPU staff and management care about affordability. DPU’s water costs $0.006 per gallon. By comparison, eight different bottled water brands purchased locally cost between $2.51 per gallon and $14.66 per gallon.

DPU’s annual water quality report will be hitting Los Alamos mailboxes by July 1. Past reports can be found online at ladpu.com/DPU under “Reports and Documents Library.”

DPU staff pose for a photo during the blind taste tests at the recent Earth Day Festival. Courtesy/County 

Scene from the blind taste tests at the recent Earth Day Festival. Courtesy/County

Scene from the blind taste tests at the recent Earth Day Festival. Courtesy/County 


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