July 4 - How Does Your Water Compare?

By Joyce Westner


July 4, 2023.  Do you know where your water comes from?  Chances are, if you’re like most Winchester residents, you might not be sure—unless you’re drinking bottled water.  Residents west of Cambridge Street, called Zone 1, drink Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) water from the Quabbin Reservoir, the east side of town gets MWRA water in the summer and town water the rest of the year. The middle, from Washington St-Grove St, to Cambridge St has water from the town reservoirs in the Middlesex Fells Reservation, all year. Many residents filter their tap water and say that improves the taste.


But an informal blind preference test at last Saturday’s farmers market shows that of the twenty-two people who tried five different samples, there was no clear winner.  Each of them tasted filtered and unfiltered town water, filtered and unfiltered MWRA water, and bottled Poland Springs.  They were also asked what they drink at home.  Two people said they didn’t have a preference and the other twenty’s preferences were fairly evenly distributed across the five types.  There was little correlation between what people drink at home and their preferred test water; in other words most people preferred a sample of water different from what they drink at home.


The test will be part of the third video in the series “This Is Winchester” (the first was about Town Meeting, and the second about the transfer station) about the town’s water supply.  Produced by Peter Engeldrum, it features an interview with Jim Gibbons, the town’s water and sewer department manager.  Engeldrum said he was glad to know the test results since he and his wife drink unfiltered MWRA water.