Stay safe and check your drinking water supply

17 December 2021

Don’t spoil your holidays through water borne illnesses.

Water New Zealand chief executive Gillian Blythe says many people under-estimate the risks of drinking potentially contaminated water in holiday destinations.

“Whether we’re heading to our favourite camping site, bach or crib, taking some basic precautions around the water we drink will help ensure a great holiday, instead of one marred by sickness.”

She says it’s important to take precautions such as boiling or treating water before drinking if there is any doubt about its safety.

"Water tanks, which are some of the most common sources of water in rural communities and holiday destinations, can easily become contaminated by vermin or bird droppings.

“Even with council supplied water, it’s important to remember that many of our rural areas and smaller settlements don’t have the same drinking water quality as most of our bigger cities.

“When a supplier issues a boil water notice, it means that E-coli has been discovered and the water has been contaminated, typically by faecal matter. Unfortunately, these are not infrequent occurrences.”

The other potential danger is when swimming at the beach or the river.

“We’ve had a particularly wet start to this summer and it’s important to remember that the water may not be safe to swim in for two to three days following a deluge.

“Heavy rain can cause stormwater runoff and sewage overflows, turning swimming spots into E.coli-risk zones.“

If it has been raining heavily, check with your local council or with the LAWA website which has the latest information on water quality at popular swimming sites around the country.

“In the end we want New Zealanders to have a safe, enjoyable and relaxing summer break and a few precautions will help ensure a happy holiday this season.”

Drinking Water