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Taumata Arowai publishes first drinking water report

Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator, has announced the publication of its first Annual Drinking Water Regulation Report.

14 July 2022

Taumata Arowai, the new water services regulator, has announced the publication of its first Annual Drinking Water Regulation Report.

Bill Bayfield, Chief Executive of Taumata Arowai said that “While we have only been the drinking water regulator for a short time, we are starting as we mean to go on – by shining a light on the data” to raise awareness about the quality and safety of drinking water.

The report is a combination of data for the 2021 calendar year, from the Ministry of Health and Taumata Arowai.

Since the regulatory responsibility for drinking water transferred to Taumata Arowai on 15 November 2021, they have been building a better understanding of who provides drinking water to New Zealanders.

There are 997 drinking water suppliers registered with Taumata Arowai, who own, manage, and operate 1,975 supplies which serve 85.4% of New Zealanders.

Most New Zealanders drink water from large council supplies (our 10 largest supplies serve 2.8 million New Zealanders). There are only a handful of large supplies not owned by council or government, and there are many supplies which serve small communities. There are then more than 75,000 private supplies that are currently unregulated.

Graph from Taumata Arowai's Annual Drinking Water Regulation Report, illustrating drinking water quality.

In the past year, of the 296 suppliers that did not meet the Drinking Water Standards:

  • 42 contained bacteria that could cause immediate illness.
  • 17 had chemicals that could cause illness over time.
  • 80 had boil water notices.
  • 134 lacked the infrastructure to treat water.
  • 126 had not attempted monitoring or sampling the water quality.

“As the new water services regulator, we are building a new regulatory system, including compulsory reporting requirements. Our goal is to lift the performance of the sector to ensure that everyone has access to safe and reliable drinking water every day,” said Bayfield.

Find more information about the Annual Drinking Water Regulation Report on the Taumata Arowai website.