Stay safe - check the water at your holiday spot

20 December 2018

As the kiwi summer exodus to the bach or beach gets underway this week, it’s worth remembering a few easy tips to keep you and your family safe from bugs in the water this summer.

Water New Zealand President Kelvin Hill says many people may not be aware that the water in some of our rural and smaller centres may not always meet the same drinking water standards as in most of our bigger cities.

He says it pays to make a few checks and take precautions rather than have holidays marred by illnesses.

“First, check the local council’s website to find out whether there have been any ‘boil water’ notices issued in recent weeks.This could indicate that there has been a contamination event and may mean that the water is not safe to drink straight from the tap. You can also go to the ESR website to see the latest information on drinking water compliance. Go to and click on the map of New Zealand.”

In many rural regions, residents and holiday makers rely on private bores or rainwater tanks for their water supply.

“In these cases, it is the property owners’ or residents’ own responsibility to ensure they’re drinking safe water.

“If you’re not sure, it’s worth taking precautions such as boiling or treating water with a disinfectant such as chlorine before drinking. “

Playing in the water is top of the list of favourite summer activities.But whether at the beach, river or lake, it’s important to remember that after a deluge, the water may not be safe to swim in for two to three days.

Heavy rain can cause stormwater runoff and sewage overflows to turn swimming spots into ecoli- risk zones.If it’s 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 an enjoyable and relaxing summer break and a few checks and precautions will help ensure a happy holiday this season.”