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New Standards, Rules, and Aesthetic Values

As the new water services regulator for Aotearoa New Zealand, we are responsible for developing regulatory instruments (such as Rules, Standards and Acceptable Solutions) that assist us to administer the Water Services Act 2021 and ensure safe drinking water. 

Following public consultation, new Drinking Water Standards, Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules, and Aesthetic Values have been published and came into effect on 14 November 2022.

New Drinking Water Standards

Drinking Water Standards (Standards) set the Maximum Acceptable Values (MAVs) for a range of contaminants which can affect the safety and quality of drinking water. They are based on guideline values set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

The Standards came into effect on 14 November 2022. We understand that it may be difficult for registered water suppliers to implement sampling and compliance reporting requirements by 14 November, therefore we expect suppliers to comply with the new reporting requirements by 1 January 2023.

The existing Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2018) will remain in effect until then. 

We intend to publish guidance on the Standards. 

We consulted on the proposed new Standards earlier this year. You can read a summary of the submissions  and the full submissions.  

New Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules

The Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules (Rules) set out what drinking water suppliers need to do to comply with key parts of the Drinking Water Standards and the Water Services Act 2021.

The Rules came into effect on 14 November 2022. 

We understand that it may be difficult for registered water suppliers to implement sampling and compliance reporting requirements by 14 November, therefore we expect suppliers to comply with the new reporting requirements by 1 January 2023. Suppliers can continue with their current sampling and reporting routine until this date.

The existing Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2018) will remain in effect until then. 

We intend to publish guidance on the Rules. In the meantime, we've clarified some of the Rule interpretations in this table. 

We consulted on the proposed new Rules earlier this year. You can read a summary of the submissions and the full submissions.

New Drinking Water Aesthetic Values

Drinking water not only needs to be safe, but it also needs to taste and smell acceptable too.  

The new Aesthetic Values for drinking water came into effect on 14 November 2022. 

We intend to publish guidance on the Aesthetic Values. 

We consulted on the proposed new Aesthetic Values earlier this year. You can read a summary of the submissions and the full submissions.

Acceptable Solutions

We have now published our Acceptable Solutions. These Solutions provide drinking water suppliers with a ready-made option to meet their compliance obligations under the Water Services Act 2021. They apply to particular supply types and situations and must be implemented in their entirety.

These have been developed in collaboration with sector reference groups from various water supply types across Aotearoa. The commencement date for Acceptable Solutions is 14 November 2022.

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