How good is our drinking water?

Published: 12-Sep-2016

The Waimakariri District is fortunate to have very high quality drinking water, with most of our urban supplies sourcing water from deep aquifers.

Throughout the district there are 16 public water supply schemes which are maintained and monitored in accordance with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand (DWSNZ). While all risk associated with supplying drinking water can never be completely eliminated, routine testing of all water supply schemes has shown that our drinking water is of very good quality.

Each scheme needs to comply with the DWSNZ by providing barriers to protect people against two main types of contamination - bacterial and protozoal.

E.coli and campylobacter are classed as bacterial contaminants, giardia and cryptosporidium are classed as protozoal contaminants. All are unwanted visitors into our water supply. It’s important that our water supplies are protected and monitored to help prevent these contaminants from entering the drinking water supply.

The current Drinking Water Standards were released in 2005 and revised in 2008. The new standards allowed time for councils to bring their schemes up to full compliance levels. It’s a significant undertaking - so far 7 of the 16 schemes are fully compliant, with Ohoka and Cust soon to be included. The remaining schemes have programmes of work set up to meet approved timeframes for compliance which are outlined in Water Safety Plans for each scheme.

Council’s Manager Utilities and Roading, Gerard Cleary says “With the programme of works in place over the next few years Council is well on the way towards ensuring that all of the district water supply schemes are fully compliant with the drinking water standards. We carry out regular, extensive testing on all of our schemes and the majority of our water supply comes from pristine deep groundwater bores, sometimes over 100 years old. This has a significant bearing on the quality of our drinking water”.

While all rural water supplies are chlorinated to reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, the majority of urban schemes including Rangiora, Kaiapoi, Oxford, Cust and Woodend come from deep groundwater bores and do not require chlorination.

Name: Gerard Cleary

Phone: 03 311 8900