Drinking Water Safety Plans update

21 Dec 2018

A drinking-water safety plan is essential to the good management of a drinking-water supply. The Health Act 1956 requires certain drinking-water suppliers to have and implement a “water safety plan”. Whilst the Act describes the statutory requirements for a drinking-water safety plan and incorporates the principles of public health risk management in those requirements, new guidance around planning drinking-water safety and managing health risks will align drinking-water safety plans more closely with international best practice.

The Ministry of Health’s Drinking-Water Safety Plan Framework (WSP Framework) outlines what the Ministry of Health expects drinking-water suppliers to include in their water safety plans. This framework is intended to be used in conjunction with the Health Act 1956, Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand, Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality Management for New Zealand and drinking-water safety plan guides.

The Government Inquiry into Havelock North Drinking Water. 2017. Report of the Havelock North Drinking Water Inquiry: Stage 2 (Stage 2 Report) made a number of recommendations in relation to drinking-water safety planning.The Ministry of Health commissioned drinking-water experts in the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Ltd, supported by Dr Heather Uwins-England (former Director, Water Supply Regulation, Office of the Water Supply Regulator Queensland) to review and revise the Ministry’s WSP Framework and supporting guides and templates.

The revision of the WSP Framework has been completed and has been published on the Ministry’s website at:

Work on revising the drinking-water safety plan guides (and templates) is continuing and will be incorporated into a Drinking-Water Safety Plan Handbook that is intended to be published before the end of March 2019.