3 July 2018
Report reveals unacceptable performance of many drinking water suppliers
Nearly two years on from the Havelock North campylobacter outbreak, one in five New Zealanders are drinking water from a public supply that does not meet current drinking water standards, according to the latest report on drinking water quality.
The Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality 2016-17, released last Friday by the Ministry of Health, shows that nearly 20 percent of those receiving water from registered networked supplies serving more than 100 people (721,000 people), were supplied water that failed to meet the requirements of the drinking water standards.
Water New Zealand Chief Executive John Pfahlert says this highlights the need for Government action on the recommendations of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry and the importance of making changes to the way drinking water is provided and regulated in New Zealand.
Pfahlert says it is concerning that many smaller communities continue to fail to supply demonstrably safe drinking water.
“Many of these communities supply drinking water to tens of thousands of tourists each year. Not only is this a hazard to residents in those communities, visitors to this country are also at risk of infection through drinking inadequately treated water” said Mr Pfahlert.
The tables belowcompiled from data presented in the Ministry report shows that a variety of the communities that failed to comply were some of our most iconic tourist destinations.
“The report provides further evidence of the need for the establishment of an independent drinking water regulator who is prepared to enforce the drinking water standards.
“The findings also show that scale matters, with large suppliers such as Auckland’s Watercare, Wellington Water, and Dunedin meeting all the compliance standards throughout the year.”
Table: Examples of Communities with Bacterial and Protozoa non-compliance
|Distribution Zone||Population||Size||Type of Supply||Bacteria||Protozoa||Chemical|
|Small||101 to 500||P||Achieved Standard|
|Minor||501 to 5,000||Î||Failed Standard|
|Medium||5,001 to 10,000|
|Large||10,001 or more|
Table 1 is data extracted from Appendix 1: Achievement against the Standards from the Minister of Health report referenced above (This is Page 8 from the Annual Report on Drinking Water Quality 2016-17)
Table 1: Achievement against the Standards from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017
Percentages are for population served.
1a Achievement in All Supplies
3,815,000 people in 661 zones.
1b Achievement in Large Zones
2,957,000 people in 74 zones, each with over 10,000 people. Serves 78% of the report population.
1c Achievement in Medium Zones
295,000 people in 41 zones, each with 5001 to 10,000 people. Serves 8% of the report population.
1d Achievement in Minor Zones
487,000 people in 257 zones, each with 501 to 5000 people. Serves 13% of the report population.
1e Achievement in Small Zones
75,600 people in 289 zones, each with 101 to 500 people. Serves 2% of the report population.
Population figures are rounded to the nearest thousand (nearest hundred for small zones).
ENDS: For further comment: CEO, John Pfahlert 021 150 9763 or Principal Advisor Water Quality, Jim Graham 027 231 3445