Monitoring water quality

What is water quality monitoring and what monitoring, and reporting are drinking water suppliers required to do?

Drinking water suppliers need to monitor drinking water quality to confirm that drinking water won’t cause a serious risk of illness or harm to the people who consume it. This includes sampling and testing water and checking to make sure that systems and equipment are calibrated and working correctly.

Water quality monitoring is essential to ensure that the drinking water you supply is safe.

Drinking water standards and compliance rules

The Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand provide requirements for drinking water safety by specifying the:

  • maximum amounts of substances, organisms, contaminants or residues that may be present in drinking-water (generally referred to as Maximum Acceptable Values or MAVs)
  • criteria for demonstrating compliance with the Standards 
  • remedial action to be taken in the event of non-compliance with the different aspects of the Standards.

Taumata Arowai intends to replace these standards with new Drinking Water Standards and Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules made under the Water Services Act 2021. One of the key differences from the existing Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand is that we propose to separate the rules and aesthetic values components out from the MAVs.

We plan to consult on the proposed new Drinking Water Standards and Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules.

Your responsibilities

All registered drinking water suppliers must ensure the water they supply is safe and that it complies with the current drinking water standards.

You must also use an accredited laboratory to analyse source water, raw water, and drinking water as part of any monitoring requirements in your drinking water safety plan (which includes any approved water safety plan carried over from the Health Act 1956).

You don’t have to routinely provide Taumata Arowai all of your monitoring results. However, you must keep records of your monitoring results and provide them to Taumata Arowai if we ask for them. 

Reporting requirements will change when new Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules are introduced. We expect these rules to be in place from July 2022. Information will be provided on the new reporting requirements closer to that time.

For now, if you believe drinking water you have supplied is or may be unsafe, or doesn’t comply with the drinking water standards, you must act immediately to prevent harm or illness. This includes telling affected consumers what has happened and what they can do to keep safe (for example, by boiling their drinking water). You must also notify Taumata Arowai