Water suppliers in New Zealand need to consider the consequences of the effects of climate and demographic change. The first of these drivers is expected to cause water availability problems and the second an increased demand for water. Both effects contribute to the possibility of water shortage and adverse health effects because of water suppliers being unable to provide an adequate supply of water to their communities. This study looked at 20 water safety plans (WSPs) to understand how the risk of water shortage is being addressed by this type of plan. To make this assessment, four situations leading to water shortage were identified: emergency, short-term (drought), existing routine demand and future demand. The study concluded that WSPs are appropriate tools for managing risk resulting from the first three of these situations, but that external documents, eg long term plans, appear to be used for managing the last situation. Almost all supplies had implemented measures for managing short-term water shortage (drought), while only about one third had robust measures in place to manage increasing routine water demand. Three quarters of the supplies had less-robust measures in place that will still help manage the risk of routine of water shortage.