Santa Clarita groundwater is moderately hard but most customers in our valley receive a mix of groundwater and softer state water, and a lot of customers use water softeners, so there is no universal “flavor “of Santa Clarita water. --Maria Gutzeit, Board Vice President, Newhall County Water District

Just so that we can do away with anticipation – because any of that makes me nervous – let’s cut to the quick and answer my question above with my belief that the best tasting tap water in America is in Cedar City, Utah.

My entire experience of traveling through all the 48 states of mainland America and sampling their tap water has vetted my conclusion.  I am leaving Santa Clarita out of my precise evaluation, especially after Maria Gutzeit’s observation above of the variegated tastes of the water in this valley.  But generally I still feel that Santa Clarita has well above-average taste for the water throughout California, with the area of the Escondido Pass having I believe having the Golden State’s best-tasting tap water.   Surely true happiness is happy water singing and dancing and bounding fearlessly down the Escondido Canyon to arrive to us enhanced by the minerals and energy this water has picked up on its way.

Excuse me for rhapsodizing a little here, but for me water has a magical quality. I believe just plain water has even more magic than the manna in the Bible that kept the wandering people of Israel alive for 40 years in the dessert.  Manna is after all solid food, and ordinary people have been known to live without solid food for about a month, as long as they have water.  But it is very difficult – even impossible -- for people without water to live as much as a week.  And the water on this earth --- like the miraculous manna in the Bible – has apparently come out of nowhere to quench our daily thirst.

“The method of disinfection and traction and other trace ingredients also affect the taste of water,” Maria Gutzeit tells the Beacon, exclusively for this article. “People may have preferences for what they like, but overall the United States has some of the best public water systems, providing frequently tested, affordable water that is held to public health standards.

“Bottled water is hundreds of times more expensive than tap water,” Ms. Gutzeit continues, “and in some cases it is just tap water that may or may not get additional treatment.  Bottled water plants also have fewer regulations than and mandatory quality reporting than most municipal water supplies.”

How about cleaning yourself with this water?  Isn’t there a better feeling of cleaning yourself with pure mountain water than it is with water that – even with an ambitious reverse osmosis filtering process – is basically filtered bathroom water?  In general, Ms. Gutzeit says there is a good reason why basic mountain water in the shower may feel different than recycled urban water – the texture is basically a different tactile experience.

“Mr. Sharp, you asked about mountain water in comparison to other water,” says Ms. Gutzeit.  “In generality, mountain stream runoff may have higher mineral content, which makes water taste crispier.  Conversely, softened water has fewer minerals but has a more slippery mouth feel that makes it feel smoother or wetter to some.  Distilled water is the ‘purest’ water but most think it tastes bland.”

At the end of the day, judging water is also about as subjective an exercise as rating competing milk.  If I were to judge milk, I would have to say that Iowa milk is the best for my taste, but following close behind for would be California milk.  The   slight difference is that Iowa has grazing lands that just look a little better nourished by nature.  Now if I say Cedar City in Utah has the best tasting water in America, it would have to be because the public water is so much gleaned from the melting snow of the Southern Rockies, just like the most popular bottled waters in America. 

So if you stop in sometime at the Wendy’s or the Burger King in Cedar City while visiting my daughter who lives there, and I am just loitering there for hours drinking the tap water, you know why.

Chris Sharp- commentary

Chris Sharp is an Educator and a prize-winning professional writer. He has recently published a new book titled Dangerous Learning: The New Schooling in California His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.