For something as plain as tap water, people can have some strong opinions. Some will swear by bottled water whilst others are perfectly proud of the high quality water that comes out of our taps.
Tap water across the UK is some of the cleanest in the world, but with variation in water companies and water sources, some cities may be enjoying better tasting hydration than others. Although the whole of the UK benefits from high quality water, the taste can vary due to factors such as how hard or soft the region’s water is, i.e. its mineral content, and how much chlorine is present. So, let’s take a look at the areas and cities which can enjoy the best tasting tap water in the UK.
What influences tap water’s taste?
Taste can be very subjective but there are a few things in water which are generally agreed to influence its flavour. Different minerals present in water can add subtle flavours – for example, potassium is slightly sweet and sodium a little salty – but it is generally too much chlorine in water, used to disinfect it, which people dislike – this gives a chemically, acidic tang.
Different regions – from the Scottish Highlands to the Peak District – will each have varying levels of minerals present in their water, contributing to different flavours. What’s more, cities which are more densely populated and closer to a water treatment plant will likely receive tap water which has higher chlorine content, thus influencing the taste.
Best tasting tap water in the UK
To try and get to the bottom of who has the best water flowing out of their taps, a group of respected food industry experts – including Michelin starred chefs and sommeliers – were enlisted to judge different regions’ water. The panel carried out a blind taste test of waters from 10 different regions and ranked them for clarity, smell and taste. Here are the results, ranking the water from various water companies from best to worst:
Severn Trent Water
Cities covered: Derby, Nottingham, Birmingham, Gloucester, Warwick, Shrewsbury
Coming in first was Severn Trent Water who supply water across the Midlands, down to Gloucestershire and into Wales. Panellists were impressed by this tap water, noting its freshness, purity and clean taste.
Cities covered: Lincoln, Northampton, Cambridge, Basildon, Ipswich, Norwich
Second place went to another water company covering the middle of England, namely the East of England.
Cities/towns covered: London, Oxford, Reading, Slough, Aylesbury, Guildford
Many people dislike the taste of the capital’s water so it was somewhat surprising third place went to Thames Water.
Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
Cities covered: Swansea, Cardiff, Aberystwyth, Brecon, Hereford
Cities/towns covered: Andover, Southampton, Horsham, Brighton, Hastings, Gillingham, Isle of Wight
Cities covered: Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dumfries, Aberdeen, Inverness, Dundee
South West Water
Cities covered: Plymouth, Exeter, Paignton, Newquay, Falmouth, Penzance
Cities covered: York, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Huddersfield, Harrogate
Cities covered: Liverpool, Manchester, Crewe, Preston, Carlisle
Cities/towns covered: Bristol, Bath, Taunton, Poole, Salisbury
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