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Rhododendron water wins best tasting award

Water system wins Oregon Association of Water Utilities award for 2013

The Rhododendron Water Association has been recognized by the Oregon Association of Water Utilities as having the best tasting surface water in the state for 2013.

Although the organization received the award at the 2013 Oregon Association of Water Utilities conference, President Steve Graeper kept it quite until the association’s annual meeting Tuesday, May 20, at the Mt. Hood RV Village.

Graeper and Water Master David Jacob accepted the award.

“A lot of people know that the water they’re getting up here is good,” Graeper said. “It’s nice to have that affirmed.”

Rhododendron Water was named the 2013 second best tasting water in Oregon just behind best tasting ground water winner Avion Water Company, in Bend.

Rhododendron Water also received the award in 2011. In 2009, after a fallen tree destroyed its water plant, the association was recognized for outstanding service, because of its quick reaction to the disaster.

Graeper said Jacob deserves much of the credit for Rhododendron Water’s response. “He does a very good job,” he said, “for a lot of systems on the mountain.”

The award is given following a triple blind taste test by four judges from samples sent in by those in the association. Samples are compared with such criteria as clarity, taste and texture.

Best tasting awards are given to the best surface water and ground water systems.

Although this year’s ground water winner won best tasting water in Oregon overall, Graeper said coming in second in the state is no small feat.

Sourced from Henry Creek, Rhododendron Water has nearly 407 customers in a community of 980.

“They’ve got bragging rights now,” Graeper said. “They know their water is clean and safe.”

Of the nearly 60 water systems on the mountain, Rhododendron is one of the few, and the largest, of the systems that use surface water. The rest are sourced from ground water.