Iain Rabbitts: Improving our municipal water supplies is taking too long

3 Dec 2018


It was with mixed feelings that I read Health Minister David Clark's announcement about improving drinking water testing. It's pleasing that the serious public health issues caused by the Havelock North contamination event are being taken seriously, but I wonder why, after 5500 people got sick and four died, it has taken over two years to make any progress.

Improved testing, important for compliance, is a step in the right direction, but consumers should be aware this does not improve the quality of water supplies, it just alerts us they have failed. There is no change in the risk to public health around the country.

Those suppliers that are currently complying with the drinking water standards will continue to comply and those that don't still won't. There may be a few suppliers on the edge of compliance whose status will improve, but it is unlikely any improvement in testing will make a real difference to the level of public health risk from drinking water. Read the full article by Iain Rabbitts - Water New Zealand Board member