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Water Rules

The following is a list of useful resources for drinking water treatment:

Why is this happening? 

Taumata Arowai was formed following a review that identified systematic failures of drinking water services around the country. These failures result in poor health outcomes, especially for the elderly, children and immune compromised. An estimate suggests 34,000 cases of waterborne illness every year result from the consumption of poor drinking water. This includes people in remote and rural areas.

Who is a Drinking Water Supplier?

If you own or operate a water supply that provides drinking water to more than 1 household, you are considered a drinking water supplier under the Water Services Act 2021. All drinking water suppliers have a duty of care to provide safe drinking water to the communities or people who rely on their supplies. Examples of supplies that are often ‘unregistered’ are: (i) smaller community water schemes (ii) supplies serving marae, papakāinga, rural schools, or community halls (iii) multiple dwellings such as farmhouses or baches that share a bore or water source. If your house or dwelling has its own drinking water supply (also described as "Domestic Self-Supply"), the Water Services Act 2021 doesn’t apply to you. Domestic self-suppliers are not required to test or monitor your supply – but of course, you should ensure that your water is safe to drink. For example, you are not considered a drinking water supplier if you own or operate: (i) a rental property with a rainwater tank supplying a single house (ii) a holiday house with its own rainwater tank rented to tourists on a short-term basis (iii) a water supply that is only used for stock or irrigation (iii) a property with two dwellings that each have their own separate water supply (eg 1 from a bore and 1 from roof water collection). The Water Services Act 2021 is concerned with water used for human consumption and other related purposes like oral hygiene, preparing food and drink, or washing utensils. Water that isn’t used for these purposes is not ‘drinking water’ and is not subject to the Act. Bottled water regulated under the Food Act 2014 is also excluded.

Water Services Act 2021

The Water Services Act 2021, which is regulated by Taumata Arowai, establishes drinking water standards and regulates all persons and organisations that supply drinking water. Under the Act, if a water supply provides drinking water to more than one household or dwelling, then the owner / operator of that water supply is considered a Drinking Water Supplier. Drinking Water Suppliers now have significant new duties including: - Registering their supply - Complying with Drinking Water Standards, including Aesthetic Values - Providing sufficient quantities - Having a Drinking Water Safety Plan - Notifying Taumata Arowai and local authorities of any risk or hazard to the water - Maintaining records of supply, compliance and monitoring (to be done via an accredited lab) - Providing specified information and a complaints process for those using / operating the water supply and consuming the water; amongst other items.

Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules: 

The Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules provide the minimum requirements drinking water suppliers must comply with to demonstrate they are supplying safe drinking water and include monitoring and reporting requirements. Some additional Rule Clarifications have been provided.

Drinking Water Standards

The Drinking Water Standards set Maximum Acceptable Values ("MAVs") for contaminants in drinking water, which can affect the safety and quality of drinking water. The MAVs are based on guideline values set by the World Health Organisation. 

Drinking Water Aesthetics

The Drinking Water Aesthetic Values are measured by the look, taste and odour of the water. They do not directly indicate the safety of the drinking water.

Drinking Water Safety Plans

A Drinking Water Safety Plan (DWSP) is a risk management process that aims to ensure a safe, reliable and resilient supply of drinking water to consumers. A DWSP records the hazards and risks to a drinking water supply and how it will be managed to ensure that drinking water is safe. A separate DWSP is required for each drinking water supply on a property. A Drinking Water Supplier who wasn’t registered under the Health Act 1956 immediately before 15 November 2021, has up to November 2025 to register their supply, and up to November 2028 to complete and submit the DWSP.  For populations of up to 500 people, there are various approaches/templates available banded into the following categories: (i) Very Small Community Supply for up to 25 people, (ii) Small Supply for 26-100 people, (iii) Medium Supply for 101-500 people. However, if you follow an Acceptable Solution then a DWSP is not required. 

Registering a Drinking Water Supply

Registering a Drinking Water Supply – the owner of the water supply is responsible for ensuring the supply is registered before November 2025, and annually thereafter; and that the water supplied is compliant with the Drinking Water Standards

Acceptable Solutions

There are a range of ready-made options to help drinking water suppliers meet their compliance obligations under the Water Services Act 2021. These are called Acceptable Solutions. They apply to specific supply types and situations and must be implemented in their entirety.

If none of the Acceptable Solutions are applicable, or you choose not to use an Acceptable Solution, you must complete a DWSP that complies with the Water Services Act 2021. 

Here is a summary of Compliance Pathways for Small, Community and Rural Drinking Water Supplies. 

Water Carriers

There are Water carriers who were operating immediately before 15 November 2021 should have provided Taumata Arowai with a DWSP prepared under the Water Services Act 2021 by 15 November 2022. If you’re starting a new water carrier business, you need to submit a DWSP to Taumata Arowai before you begin to transport water. Taumata Arowai has prepared a DWSP guide and a template for water carriers. For more information see For Water Carriers.