Exemptions

A water supplier may apply for an exemption from some of the requirements in the Water Services Act 2021

For some drinking water suppliers it may be unreasonable or impractical to comply with the Act. Suppliers can apply for an exemption from some of the requirements in the Act.

The Water Services Act 2021 provision for residual disinfection exemptions comes into effect from 1 March 2022. We are unable to consider applications before then.

When you are seeking an exemption, you must explain to Taumata Arowai how that will be consistent with the main purpose of the Act, which is to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers. You’ll also need to tell us how you would manage risks affecting your drinking water supply and give effect to Te Mana o te Wai if an exemption was granted.

Types of exemptions

The types of exemptions that drinking water suppliers can apply for are:

  • General exemptions  

General exemptions allow drinking water suppliers to be exempt from complying with a range of legislative requirements. In some situations, it may be unreasonable or impractical to comply with legislative requirements. An exemption can only be granted if it is consistent with the main purpose of the Act, which is to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers.

  • Residual disinfection exemptions

Residual disinfectant exemptions allow drinking water suppliers with piped supply networks to supply drinking water without using residual disinfectants like chlorine. Chlorine is the most common form of residual disinfection for drinking water.

A residual disinfection exemption may apply to all or a part of a supply. This sort of exemption can only be granted if it is consistent with the main purpose of the Act and if all other legislative requirements will be complied with, including the duty to provide safe drinking water.

You must provide, with your application, a draft drinking water safety plan, or other documents which describe how you intend to operate your supply safely without using residual disinfection.

As part of its assessment, Taumata Arowai will refer residual disinfection exemption applications to an External Advisory Panel. The External Advisory Panel is a group of international experts who provide Taumata Arowai with assistance on the technical aspects of residual disinfection exemption applications.

  • Class exemptions

General or residual disinfection exemptions can apply to individual drinking water suppliers or to a class of drinking water supplier. Any supplier who comes within the description of the class can choose to rely on the published exemption, without having to make a new exemption application. Before a class exemption is granted, we must consult with the public.

Exemptions can be issued for a maximum of five years and may have conditions that suppliers must comply with.

All drinking water suppliers who have an exemption must still give effect to Te Mana o te Wai, to the extent it relates to their supply of drinking water to consumers.

Exemption applications will be subject to fees and charges set through regulations.

More detailed guidance on the exemptions process is being developed and will be published shortly.

Applications should be made using this form