For the second year in a row, Independence placed fifth in the municipal water category at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting world competition in West Virginia. It is the sixth time in seven years Independence has placed in the top five.

Independence has won a silver medal (2013) and two bronze medals (2016, 2012) in recent years.

Nearly 100 different locations from five continents submitted water for the competition. According to the contest announcement, judging follows guidelines similar to those in wine tasting. The waters were rated on attributes including appearance (it should be clear – or slightly opaque for glacial waters), aroma (there should be none), taste (it should taste clean), mouth feel (it should feel light), aftertaste (it should leave you thirsty for more).

Clearbrook, British Columbia, Canada won best overall in the municipal category; Santa Ana, California received the gold and was named best in the U.S.; and Hamilton, Ohio; Mission Springs Water District, California; El Dorado Springs, Colorado also finished ahead of Independence.

Independence established its water department in 1883, and it now supplies water to about 250,000 people, including residents of Independence and 12 wholesale customers that include Blue Springs, Grain Valley and Lee's Summit. The water is supplied from 42 wells located at the Courtney Bend Water Treatment Plant and is softened and disinfected at the treatment plant.