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New Yorkers like to boast that it’s the water that makes their bagels and pizza so good. In this week’s cover story, I ask: Can D.C. create the same sense of pride in the tap water here?

The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority (now known as DC Water) thinks so. It’s embarked on a new campaign to promote restaurants and breweries that use local tap in their food and brews. This comes less than a decade after findings of dangerously high lead levels in the drinking water scandalized the agency.

The story delves into DC Water’s efforts to spiff up its image. Leading the way is the utility’s general manager of three years, George Hawkins, who wants to market the water more like Nike than a public works department. Owners of The Pretzel Bakery in Capitol Hill and brewery DC Brau explain why they brag about the water in their products, while long-time Washington baker Mark Furstenberg calls it “vile” and 3 Pizanos prefers to import the water for its pizza dough from New York.

Can “made with D.C. tap water” become a culinary selling point? Check out the story, and leave your thoughts in the comments.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery