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Drinking water safety planning

Assessing and managing risks across your water supply through drinking water safety planning.

Drinking water safety plan (DWSP) 

Preparing a drinking water safety plan is a risk management process that aims to ensure a safe, reliable and resilient supply of drinking water to your consumers.  

Your DWSP records the hazards and risks to your drinking water supply and how you will manage them to ensure that drinking water is safe. Your plan must: 

  • be proportionate to the scale and complexity of, and the risks that relate to, your drinking water supply 
  • identify any hazards that relate to your drinking water supply 
  • assess any risks associated with those hazards 
  • identify how those risks will be managed, controlled, or eliminated to ensure that the water you supply is safe and complies with the legislative requirements of the Water Services Act 2021 
  • identify how the DWSP will be reviewed on an ongoing basis, and how its implementation will be amended, if necessary, to ensure that the drinking water you supply is safe and complies with legislative requirements 
  • identify how your drinking water supply will be monitored to ensure that drinking water is safe and complies with legislative requirements 
  • include procedures to verify that your DWSP is working effectively 
  • include a multi-barrier approach to drinking water safety that will be implemented as part of the DWSP 
  • include a source water risk management plan if required 
  • if your supply includes reticulation, require, and provide for the use of, residual disinfection in the supply unless an exemption is obtained 
  • identify how you will meet your duty as a supplier to ensure that a sufficient quantity of drinking water is provided 
  • identify how you will respond to events and emergencies in relation to your supply 
  • comply with the relevant requirements of the Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules (the Rules) 

Source water risk management plan

A source water risk management plan is part of your DWSP, unless your drinking water supply arrangement doesn’t have a source (for example, water carriers who fill tankers from water from another drinking water supply rather than abstracting water directly from a water body). It sets out how hazards and risks to source water will be managed.  To develop a plan, you will need to engage with local authorities to understand the risks to your water source. 

A source water risk management plan must: 

  • identify any hazards that relate to the source water, including emerging or potential hazards 
  • assess any risks that are associated with those hazards 
  • identify how those risks will be managed, controlled, monitored, or eliminated as part of a DWSP 
  • have regard to any values identified by local authorities under the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (made under the Resource Management Act 1991) that relate to a freshwater body that you use as a source of your drinking water supply. 

Guidance and templates for small supplies

We have prepared a set of DWSP templates and guidance for drinking water supplies supplying populations of up to 500 people.  These reflect the relative scale, complexity and risk of different water supplies, and incorporate source water risk management planning.  

It is not mandatory to use these templates. You may submit your DWSP in a different format from that prepared by Taumata Arowai. This is acceptable so long as the DWSP addresses each of the elements listed in the Water Service Act 2021 (see the section ‘Drinking water safety plan (DWSP)’ above). Taumata Arowai is committed to enhancing its guidance on DWSPs over time. If you choose to use a Taumata Arowai template, you can provide feedback by emailing info@taumataarowai.govt.nz 



Population threshold 

DWSP guidance 

DWSP template 

Very Small Community supply 

Up to 25 

DWSP guidance very small communities

DWSP template - very small communities 

Small supply 

26 – 100 

DWSP guidance small supply

DWSP template -  small supply

Medium supply 

101 – 500 

DWSP guidance - medium supply

DWSP template -  medium supply

General guidance for drinking water safety planning

This guide on drinking water safety planning covers the importance of risk management in the supply of safe drinking water and provides examples of risk management approaches that can be used as part of the drinking water safety planning process.

This guide for source water risk management planning covers the importance of protecting drinking water at its source and describes what you should consider when carrying out risk management planning for source water.

This quick guide will help you upload your Drinking Water Safety Plan to Hinekōrako.

When do I need to have submitted a DWSP by?

Registered suppliers – submit your DWSP by 15 November 2022

A copy of your DWSP should have been submitted to Taumata Arowai by 15 November 2022. 

If you prefer to use an Acceptable Solution, you do not need to prepare a DWSP. You need to let us know you have chosen this option through Hinekōrako, our self-service portal, by 15 November 2022. 

The Water Services Act 2021 has introduced some new requirements that must be included as part of a DWSP. For example, all reticulated drinking water supplies must, unless an exemption has been granted or an Acceptable Solution is adopted, provide for the use of residual disinfection. 

Taumata Arowai has revised the Drinking Water Standards and published new Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules. The new Standards and Rules will assist you to start your drinking water safety planning, they came into effect on 14 November 2022. 

Unregistered suppliers – you’ve got plenty of time to get registered 

If you’re a drinking water supplier who wasn’t registered under the Health Act 1956 immediately before 15 November 2021, you have up to November 2025 to register your supply, and up to November 2028 to complete a DWSP. 

New drinking water supplies – register before you start supplying 

If you are commissioning a new drinking water supply, you must register the supply with Taumata Arowai and provide a DWSP before you start to supply drinking water to consumers. 

See the guidance and templates for small supplies above or the guidance below. 

Water carriers

Water carriers who were operating immediately before 15 November 2021 should have provided Taumata Arowai with a DWSP prepared under the Water Services Act 2021 by 15 November 2022. 

If you’re starting a new water carrier business, you need to submit a DWSP to Taumata Arowai before you begin to transport water. 

Taumata Arowai has prepared a DWSP guide and a template for water carriers. 

For more information see For Water Carriers.

Some registered suppliers may not need to prepare a DWSP

If you are a drinking water supplier who was registered under the Health Act 1956 immediately before 15 November 2021, you may be able to comply with an Acceptable Solution. If this is the case you need to decide between the following options in relation to each of your supplies: 

  • Option 1: prepare a DWSP (including a source water risk management plan) that complies with the Water Services Act 2021, and follow the rules or 
  • Option 2: comply with an Acceptable Solution, which have been developed for particular supply types and circumstances.

If none of the Acceptable Solutions are applicable, or you choose not to use an Acceptable Solution, you must complete a DWSP. 

Note: you can switch between a DWSP and following the rules, and Acceptable Solution at any time, so long as you notify Taumata Arowai of the change via Hinekōrako.  You may also choose to implement an Acceptable Solution and complete a DWSP, to ensure your risk is minimised. 

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Ko te kaupapa o Te Mana o te Wai ko te rangapūtanga, te tiakitanga me te whai wāhitanga

Te Mana o te Wai is about partnership, protection and participation

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