A randomized, double-blind water taste test to evaluate the equivalence of taste between tap water and filtered water in the Taipei metropolis

Scientific Reports volume 10, Article number: 13387 (2020) Cite this article
Date: 07 August 2020
By: Jing-Rong Jhuang, 
Wen-Chung Lee & 
Chang-Chuan Chan 


High water quality and sufficient water availability are the main concerns of water users. Promoting the efficient use of tap water can contribute to sustainable drinking water management and progress towards Sustainable Development Goals. In many metropolises, water suppliers treat municipal water with appropriate treatment processes and well-maintained distribution infrastructure. Under this circumstance, it is acceptable that municipal water can be a source of drinking water. The presence of residual chlorine in tap water, connected to municipal water supply, inactivates pathogenic microorganisms and prevents recontamination. However, adding chlorine to tap water may affect the organoleptic properties of drinking water. On the other hand, the use of point-of-use (POU) water dispensers, which provides an additional treatment step on tap water, is not energy-efficient. A randomized, double-blind water taste test was conducted in the Taipei metropolis to assess whether tap water from public drinking fountains and filtered water from POU water dispensers have similar organoleptic properties. An odds ratio (OR) and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) were used to measure the participants’ ability to distinguish between the two water varieties. A five-region hypothesis test was conducted to test the OR, and a 95% bootstrap confidence interval of the AUC was calculated. The results of the study showed that the 95% five-region confidence interval of OR equal to (0.5, 1.49), and the 95% bootstrap confidence interval of AUC equal to (0.42, 0.56). These results implied that people in the Taipei metropolis could not distinguish between tap water and filtered water. It is recommended that more drinking fountains be installed and maintained fully functional and clean to achieve excellence in tap water access.    [FULL  STORY]

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