Providing a safe, sustainable and reliable water supply for New Zealand’s growing population is a key focus for many councils. With changing responsibilities for water suppliers of all sizes, a deeper understanding of the potential for new water supply sites can help councils develop reliable drinking water sources across the country.
Water quality is another essential element for water suppliers to consider, whether they are regional councils or smaller suppliers. Assessing water quality to protect the end user is therefore fundamental to providing safe and drinkable water to New Zealanders.
Identify new water supplies
At Aqualinc, we work with clients to evaluate the potential for new water supplies. The evaluation process assesses, models and tests three core elements:
Bore location & depth
Define source water risk management areas (SWRMAs)
Water quality and safety underpin all efforts to identify reliable water supplies. The way New Zealand’s land is used agriculturally and industrially can interact with providing safe water — which is why risk management is such an important consideration for drinking water supply.
In the wake of Havelock North’s 2016 campylobacteriosis outbreak, sweeping changes have been made to drinking water supply rules. The responsibility for regulation now lies with the newly formed independent water regulator Taumata Arowai. One important change that impacts regional councils is the need to define source water risk management areas (SWRMAs) and develop source water risk management plans.
At Aqualinc, we have worked with the Ministry for the Environment from the start to develop modelling guidelines for defining SWRMAs, as well as assessing the implications of national SWRMA development on land use. We have also worked with several councils to develop local SWRMAs and assess local risks.
Every SWRMA is different — both the local population and the nature of local land use can influence the level of modelling required and the reliability and safety of the resulting water supply. With our many years of experience, we can provide the level of modelling you require and help you secure a safe, long-term water supply for your catchment area.
Support small suppliers
Small suppliers (those who supply water to more than one household) are required to register with Taumata Arowai before November 2025, and be compliant with drinking water safety rules by November 2028. This is a new responsibility for many small suppliers.
‘Acceptable Solutions by Taumata Arowai’ has been developed for many small suppliers to make the changes as simple as possible. Small suppliers will need to:
Assess water supply safety using water sampling testing
Provide a safe water distribution system
Install a water treatment system
We can help small suppliers to understand and meet these requirements by:
Identifying the simplest water treatment and monitoring solutions for their site
Defining the SWRMA and identifying risks to the water supply
Preparing a water safety plan
Work with Us
Access to clean drinking water is a human right, and supplying a safe and sustainable water supply to New Zealand’s growing population presents a significant challenge for New Zealand’s councils and small suppliers. With our many years of water modelling experience, Aqualinc are well placed to support councils with defining SWRMAs and developing accompanying risk management plans. We can also help smaller suppliers to navigate the new regulatory system and ensure that their water supply is compliant with Taumata Arowai regulations.
Get in touch to find out more about meeting the requirements for water suppliers of all sizes in New Zealand.