Having safe drinking water is essential for good health.

Low rainfall in the Auckland region has put pressure on our water supplies. For the latest information, including the location of community water collection sites, as well as how to save water visit the Watercare website.

Most people in Auckland are on town water supply provided by the Watercare Services Ltd. There are also a number of smaller water suppliers, and some people manage their own household water supply.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service (ARPHS) Drinking Water Assessment Unit (DWAU) works with networked drinking water suppliers and water carriers that are required to meet the Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2007. We ensure the water suppliers maintain and distribute water of appropriate quality. We also investigate any outbreak of a notifiable infectious disease, which includes waterborne diseases like campylobacter.

Public drinking water supply

Watercare Services treats and delivers water to most of Auckland’s homes and businesses. Water is treated according to the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand. Drinking-water assessors from Auckland Regional Public Health Service check the water is treated correctly and is of a high standard.

Households with a roof water tank, bore or stream

If you get your water from a water tank, bore or stream, it is the responsibility of the owner of the property to ensure the water supply meets certain requirements. This includes requirements under the Building Act.

Water carriers

For the latest information on water provision during the current dry weather – including the location of community water collection sites – visit Council’s OurAuckland websiteInformation about how to save and prioritise drinking water during water shortages is also available on the Ministry of Health website.

Sometimes water is delivered to customers by tankers. These water carriers are required under the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand to be on the Register of Community Drinking Water Supplies and Suppliers in New Zealand.

The standards also cover monitoring of the quality of the water for contamination, delivery information, documentation and record-keeping requirements.

Water contamination

Water supplies that are not properly treated can contain germs that can cause serious illnesses. These include giardia and cryptosporidium, salmonella, campylobacter and a form of E. coli called STEC or VTEC.

These micro-organisms come directly or indirectly from animal or human faeces. It may only take a tiny amount to put the water supply at risk.  For this reason, drinking water is usually treated. Much of New Zealand’s drinking water has chlorine added that kills bacteria, viruses and other organisms and makes the water safe to drink.

Visit the Ministry of Health for advice on drinking water in an emergency.


How drinking water is kept safe

There are a number of laws and regulations which suppliers must meet to keep our drinking water safe. They apply to different settings and situations.

Monitoring our drinking water is an important step in keeping it safe. For information on what happens if there’s a problem, visit the Ministry of Health page.

The Ministry of Education requires schools to have an adequate supply of safe drinking water available. Further information on the Ministry’s requirements can be found on its website.

Rural schools and early childhood education centres (ECECs), classified as specified self-supplies sourced from roof or bore, must be registered with the Ministry of Health. Find more information about safe drinking water supply in schools here.

There have been changes to the compliance monitoring of drinking water quality for schools with their own water supplies in the Auckland region.  ARPHS is no longer involved with the annual review for specified self-supplies, as from July 2018. Review of their water quality test results will now be done by Auckland Council and water supplies will continue to be subject to the provisions of the Building Act and the Health Act.

ARPHS will continue to work with Auckland Council if there are any outbreaks of gastroenteritis or other illness which could be linked to the school’s / ECEC’s water supply. 

If you would like to discuss your school drinking water compliance in more detail then please contact Auckland Council on (09) 301 0101.

Auckland Regional Public Health Service’s drinking water assessment unit works with water suppliers to make sure the water you drink is safe and of a high standard. We assess water supply compliance with the Health Act 1956 and Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand (DWSNZ).

We also:

  • provide information to the public about water quality and safe drinking water
  • carry out water safety plan assessments
  • investigate public health problems arising from drinking water
  • respond to drinking water problems or issues
  • maintain a drinking water monitoring and surveillance system.

Last updated 11.1.2021

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