“Clear, clean, soft and sweet” is how the judges described Greenville’s water when it was named Best of the Best-Tasting Water in North America at the 2011 conference of the American Water Works Association in Washington, D.C.

Greenville’s water — which repeatedly ranks as the best in South Carolina — owes its great taste to the fact that most of it flows from large watersheds in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains into two man-made reservoirs at the headwaters of the South Saluda River and the North Saluda River in northern Greenville County. A third reservoir at Lake Keowee in Pickens County is owned by Duke Energy.

Greenville Water owns all 26,000 acres of the two watersheds, protecting these undeveloped lands in order to assure that the area’s water stands up to its pristine reputation.

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