Guidance for registering a drinking water supply

This guidance includes information you need to know when registering a drinking water supply in Hinekōrako  the online self-service portal. Some supplies will be more complex than others. You only need to read the sections that apply to you and your supply.

In addition to this guidance, there are a number of step-by-step Quick Reference Guides and online prompts in Hinekōrako to help you complete your registration online.  

Overview of registration process

These are the stages of the registration process: 

  • You need to complete a registration record for each water supply you are responsible for. 
  • We will send you a confirmation email when your registration is approved. This will advise the annual registration renewal date for your water supply and outline your key responsibilities. 
  • Once the registration process is completed details are included on the Public Register of Drinking Water Supplies. Requests can be submitted to suppress information from the Public Register under certain circumstances.

Once your water supply is registered:  

  • You need to renew your registration annually for each water supply (except for planned temporary water supply for events), and confirm all your details and your drinking water safety plan (where required) are current. 
  • You need to notify us immediately by updating the relevant registration record if any information changes. 

When completing your registration online, you will need to complete all mandatory fields on each screen and save the information before you can progress to the next screen.   

You can exit your registration and submit it to us at a later date. Remember to save the information on the current screen before you exit.  

The information required for the registration depends on the type of water supply you are registering. See the water supply type section of this guide for more information. Briefly, they are: 

  • water carrier service: will need to register their water carrier service. If the water carrier uses their own water supply, it must be registered separately as a water carrier supply 
  • all other water supply types: on demand, trickle feed, self-supplied building, community water station/water carrier supply.

Supply owner registration responsibilities

As the owner of the water supply, you are responsible for ensuring the supply is registered. You or your organisation are accountable for ensuring the water supplied is compliant with the drinking water standards.  

The Water Services Act 2021 defines an owner of a drinking water supply as the person who has the effective control of the drinking water supply. To determine this, you need to consider whether the person: 

  • owns the drinking water infrastructure (treatment plants, pipes, etc); or 
  • owns or has long-term control of the land on which the drinking water infrastructure is based; or 
  • directs or has control over decisions about the funding or maintenance of the drinking water infrastructure, or collects fees, levies or other charges from consumers in relation to the infrastructure; or 
  • controls how the management of the supply is resourced (e.g. has the power to subcontract work). 

Identifying the person(s) with effective control of the supply is important. In the event there is a failing in the duties associated with the supply, ultimately the courts may need to decide who was the owner and was therefore responsible for ensuring the duties were undertaken.  

For some supplies, there will be one clear owner, but for other supplies multiple owners may exist. Further detail on supplies with multiple owners is available in the Appendix of this guide. 

Guidance on determining who has effective control of the drinking water supply is available in the Appendix of this guide.  

You may opt to delegate the registration process to an agent or a delegate who may be the operator, but you remain responsible for the accuracy and currency of the content of the registration and resulting records. You must also provide a registration contact, (this can be you), an overall supply contact (this is shown on the Public Register as the primary contact person for consumers) and a key contact for each owner.   

You and your delegates can use our self-service portal, Hinekōrako to register a water supply and to renew and maintain the registration details for water supplies. 

In exceptional circumstances where you cannot access the self-service portal, Hinekōrako (e.g. where technology issues prevent access and there is no delegate), please contact us on for assistance.  

You may nominate and authorise a person to approve user accounts for other users for one or more of your supplies. Separate user accounts will be required for all delegates who will be updating the registration record.  

The person authorised to approve user accounts will also be able to authorise user accounts to submit notifications or compliance reports.  

Managing multiple ownership

Multiple owners may exist for the whole water supply or for components (e.g. treatment plants) of the water supply. You can record details of all the owners and key contacts and identify the appropriate key contact for each owner and the overall supply contact.  

Multiple owners could be organisations and/or individuals. For example:  

  • Several individuals have funded the establishment of a small water supply to provide drinking water for themselves and/or others, and all individuals have input into decisions on investment, maintenance, who is appointed as the operator of the supply, etc. In these cases, all the individuals should be listed as owners.      
  • Multiple councils own components of a water supply (which they previously managed) that is now managed under a single local government arrangement (such as a council controlled organisation), for example, Wellington Water or Watercare. All councils must be listed as an owner.

For non-council water suppliers, the information in the Appendix of this guide will help determine who has effective control of the supply will help identify the appropriate people or organisations to be registered as owner(s) and who is appropriate for the key owner contact or for the overall supply contact.   h

  • Owners of the infrastructure and owners who direct or control decisions over funding or collection of fees, levies and other charges have more effective control as they can determine or influence decisions about maintenance. 
  • Ownership of the land without control of the funding or maintenance of the drinking water supply does not provide effective control of the water supplier.  
  • An entity that only controls maintenance with funding provided or how management of the supply is resourced is more likely to be the operator rather than the owner. 

Complex ownership of supply components

A water supply can be owned by multiple owners (e.g. a group of bach owners or businesses). There can also be situations where multiple owners exist for different components of the supply (usually the treatment plants and distribution system of pipes).  

This situation is most likely to occur where separate supplies are being operated as an integrated network in a local government environment.  Wellington Water is an example of this complex ownership of components of the water supply.  

Multiple owners of components may occur for non-council water supplies where smaller suppliers collaborate to run multiple supplies as an integrated supply.  

Details of the owners of individual components of the water supply can be recorded in Hinekōrako. This will not identify which components are owned.

The registration contact can upload a separate document outlining the ownership structure on the final page of the registration record.

Establishing a registration contact

Each water supply needs to have a registration contact. This person generally creates and maintains the registration record. The registration contact can be the owner, operator, employee, trustee, shareholder, director or agent. This person will be our primary contact if we have any questions or need to clarify registration information. The registration contact and all owners will receive confirmation emails when the supply is registered or if there are any changes to the registration.

Supply contacts

Each water supply can have multiple contacts, although to commence registration, a single contact is needed. Each contact can have one or more roles e.g. a contact may be both an owner and an operator of the supply.  

An overall contact for the supply is required and this contact is published on the Public Register as the primary point of contact for consumers. It's up to the owners to agree on the overall supply contact. The overall supply contact will have comprehensive knowledge about the water supply and  its operation. For a water supply with multiple owners, this is likely to be the operator or the primary operator.    

There must be at least one owner identified for a supply. Owners can be individuals (and are listed as contacts) or organisations. Where multiple owner organisations are identified for the water supply, a key contact for each owner organisation must be identified. This is the person we will contact in the event of issues with the water supply.

Water supply type

The registration application and the information required is determined by the type of water supply being registered.   

The water supply types are based on the technical characteristics of the supply rather than the ownership. Water supplies owned by iwi, hāpu and papakāinga will need to select one of the water supply types listed in the table below. The nature of the community served (e.g. marae, papakāinga, city, education facility, etc) will be in the community type field. 

The first step in the registration process is to select the water supply type that applies.

Type of supply  Explanation 
Very Small Communities

Drinking water supplies of any configuration or arrangement (excluding domestic self-supplies) that provide drinking water to a population of up to 25 people. In circumstances when the population supplied fluctuates, the population supplied may increase to up to 50 people for up to 60 days in any 12 month period.

Networked Supplies

Drinking water supplies that provide drinking water via a distribution system at a pressure and volume to meet consumer demand, or at a restricted flow and volume.

These supplies may include storage facilities within the network to buffer demand.

The Rules have been prepared for Networked Supplies with the following population sizes:

a) Small 26 – 100 people. Varying Population module requirements can apply to this drinking water supply category.

b) Medium 101 – 500 people. Varying Population module requirements can apply to this drinking water supply category.

c) Large >500 people.

Self-supplied Buildings 

Self-supplied Buildings are water supplies (excluding domestic self-supplies) which provide drinking water to up to ten buildings on one site (within the boundaries of one property, or within the boundaries of two or more properties with common ownership arrangements) and provide water to more than 25 people.

The Rules have been prepared for Self-supplied Buildings with the following population sizes:

a) Small 26 – 100 people. Varying Population module requirements can apply to this drinking water supply category.

b) Medium 101 – 500 people. Varying Population module requirements can apply to this drinking water supply category.

c) Large >500 people.

Water carrier service 

Drinking water supplies that involve the transport of drinking water in a vehicle or vessel with a water tank (e.g., a truck, trailer, or rail wagon) and supply to consumers or other drinking water suppliers, often to a storage tank on a property. Typically, Water Carrier Services provide drinking water to houses that have their own supplies but need the quantity of stored water to be augmented. Water Carrier Services can also augment other drinking water supplies, particularly during droughts and emergencies and provide water to planned events.

Water Carrier Services that fill tankers from a supply that provides water specifically for Water Carrier Services, must ensure that supply is separately registered and complies with the Water Carrier Supplies Rules.

Water Carrier Supply

Water Carrier Supplies are drinking water supplies that provide water specifically to fill tanker vehicles that are owned or operated by a Water Carrier Service.


Community Drinking Water Station

Community Drinking Water Stations are drinking water supplies that provide drinking water from a single point of supply to a community who collect the water in containers.

Public taps or container filling stations that are connected to a Networked Supply (e.g., community taps that provide water which is chlorinated and then de-chlorinated) are not considered to be Community Drinking Water Stations.

Measuring the depth of a bore

The depth of the bore is measured from ground level to the top of the uppermost screen – see the red line in the following diagram. 

Diagram showing components of a bore and where to measure from.
Based on diagram in Guidelines for Drinking-water Quality Management for New Zealand, Chapter 3: Water Sources. Ministry of Health, May 2019.

Allocation of unique identifiers

You don’t need to complete the identifier field. It will be populated by the system. The exception is when a new distribution zone is added to a supply, which is explained later in this section.

The identifier field contains a unique identifier code allocated to each water supply and its components:

  • water supply
  • source abstraction point(s)
  • treatment plant(s)
  • distribution zone(s)

The unique identification codes for water supplies previously registered with the Ministry of Health have been transferred across to the public register.

New registrations for existing unregistered supplies and new water supplies, including planned event temporary water supplies or new components of an existing water supply will automatically receive a new unique identifier during registration.

Please use the unique identification codes on all communications to us to ensure we know which supply or parts of the supply you are referring to. 

Where a new distribution zone is added to an existing registered supply or when a new supply is registered, you will be prompted to complete the last two characters of the Identifier for the distribution zone. You may select any two characters. This will create a unique identifier in the registration record.  

Once allocated, the identifier can’t be updated. The system will not accept duplicates of existing identifiers and you will be prompted to make a change if this occurs.

Estimating the population

The population is collected for each distribution zone in a water supply. Use this guidance on how to calculate the population.

The population served across the whole water supply must be calculated from totals for the distribution zones (automatic calculation will be available in the future).

Self-supplied buildings don’t have a distribution zone. You must provide the maximum population served for the building.

Community drinking water stations don’t have a distribution zone. You will not need to provide a population in the registration application.

Small water supplies may not have multiple distribution zones; the area covered by the community served is the distribution zone. In this situation, you will still calculate the population and enter the total in the distribution zone field.

Water carrier services don’t have a total population or distribution zone. The expected number of deliveries being made in the previous 12-month period is required. This is a proxy that we can use to understand the scale of water carrier services. We recognise the commercial value of this information and will take that into account when managing information associated with drinking water supplies, including responding to requests for information under the Official Information Act 1982.

Community water stations do not have a total population or distribution zone. For supplies of this type, please leave the field blank.

Determining the local authority

For most water supplies, the territorial authority, regional council or unitary authority will be readily identified for the community served by the water supply.   

The system will ask for the region first. The territorial authorities within that region will be presented.  

Hinekōrako only allows one region and territorial authority to be selected. If you consider the supply serves communities that are evenly spread across multiple regions and territorial authority boundaries, you should select the primary one, i.e. where most of the consumers are. A document can be uploaded at the end of the registration process to provide details on the other regional councils and territorial authorities, if needed.  

All the individual communities served by the supply can be included in the ‘Community’ field. These are shown on the Public Register and will be key information that consumers will use to locate supplies they may be connected to.

Determining the Public Health Unit (PHU) 

For many water supplies, the PHU will be known or easy to identify.   

There is a list of public health units and contact details on the Ministry of Health website. The area covered by each PHU doesn’t necessarily map exactly to the district health board (DHB) areas. For example, Regional Public Health covers Capital and Coast, Hutt and Wairarapa DHB areas. The DHB areas are shown on maps on the Ministry of Health website.  

Only one PHU can be selected. If you consider that multiple PHUs cover the area, then contact us at info@TaumataArowai.govt.nzA document can be uploaded on the last page of the registration record if you want to provide details of the coverage of PHUs across your water supplies.  

If you are unsure about the PHU you would primarily interact with in an emergency, contact the likely PHUs to confirm if your water supply is within their boundary.

Providing information about abstraction points, treatment plants and distribution zones

Location information is important to: 

  • accurately identify the location of your source abstraction point(s) so resource consent processes for activity on or near the water source can take your abstraction point into account  
  • enable the use of geographical information software that can accurately identify the location of abstraction points, treatment plants and distribution zones of the water supply and how these relate to other layers of information used by the water supplier, local authorities and others 
  • in the future, enable members of the public to identify which water supply covers a specific address. 

Locations can be collected using the following methods: 

  • Geocodes: for example, the latitude and longitude of a specific point can be pinpointed on an electronic map. Geocodes are preferred for source abstraction points. They will be required by the first renewal and may be made mandatory earlier. Geocodes are required for treatment plant locations.    
    • You can use latitude and longitude or NZTM (New Zealand Transverse Mercator 2000) 
    • You will be able to access a map when you are in the registration record and move the displayed ‘pin’ to the exact location of your abstraction point(s). The appropriate geocodes will be transferred into the record. 
  • Shape files or pipe network diagram: these are used to map an area, such as distribution zones in a water supply or distribution network.  Shape files will enable the public to search and identify which water supply services a particular area.   
  • Description of the location: this will be an address, if available. It could also be supported by other details such as: 
    • the stream on the property at this address 
    • location, e.g., 100 metres down the driveway 
    • distribution zone boundaries, e.g. Apple St in the north, Pear St in the east, Banana St in the south and Grape St in the west.

We encourage the use of shape files for distribution zones and these can be uploaded in the registration.    

Location information on source abstraction points and treatment plants will not be displayed on the public register.

Information on source abstraction points shared with local authorities

We must share the information provided on each abstraction point for each supply with the relevant territorial authority, unitary council and regional council as required by the Water Services Act. This is to verify information to build an accurate picture of locations.

We will share information with local authorities once you have completed the registration process. If the local authority has different location information, we will let you know so any discrepancy can be resolved.  

Transferring information will happen progressively for new water supply registrations. The information will also be verified if a new source abstraction point is established for an existing supply.  

Verifying abstraction point data with local authorities will not delay completion of the registration process. 

Request to suppress information on the public register

Taumata Arowai is required to provide a publicly available version of the Register of Drinking Water Supplies containing information specified in the Water Services Act 2021. The public register includes some of the information provided by water suppliers when they register their water supplies.

Read this guidance if you would like to know the process for requesting suppression of information from the public register, and the factors we will consider when assessing the request.

Registration of water carriers

As a water carrier service, you must complete two application forms if using your own water supply: 

  • Firstly, complete the application to register the water supply, if it is not already registered. This is necessary as the application for registration of a water carrier service will require the supply to be included and selected from a drop-down list.  
  • Secondly, complete the application to register your water carrier service. 

Water carriers who use other registered water supplies will select all the supplies used in their water carrier registration application.  

Water carriers must update their water carrier registration records if they intend to use other water supplies to source drinking water to supply to their customers.  

Timeframe for processing your registration

We must process your registration within 20 working days of when the application is submitted, unless we consider your application is incomplete or needs to be amended.  

Where we require further information, the timeframe is put on hold until we receive the requested information.   

We will advise you of the annual renewal date for the registered supply. 

APPENDIX: Meaning of ‘owner’ – the person(s) with effective control of the water supply

Section 12 of the Water Services Act defines owner as the person who has effective control of the drinking water supply.  A person may be an individual or an organisation or corporate body that is a legal entity. 

To help determine whether a person has effective control, consider whether the person:

  1. owns the drinking water infrastructure (treatment plants, pipes, etc); or 
  2. owns or has long-term control of the land on which the drinking water infrastructure is based; or 
  3. directs or has control over decisions about the funding or maintenance of the drinking water infrastructure, or collects fees, levies or other charges from consumers in relation to the infrastructure; or 
  4. controls how the management of the supply is resourced (e.g. has the power to subcontract work). 

No single factor has a higher priority than others. It is necessary to consider all the relevant factors and make a case by case assessment of who has effective control of your drinking water supply. 

Note: Individuals or organisations that operate the supply on a daily basis can be different to the individuals or organisations listed as the owners. 


The type of entity helps determine who has effective control

Are you one of the following types of legal entities? Such as a company, government organisation, Māori incorporation, incorporated societies, charitable trust boards,  

  • The entity may have direct control over 1 – 4 above. While an entity may seek input from others, the investment and decision-making rests with the entity. They generally own the infrastructure. If they do not own the land, the entity will have the right to use the land where the supply infrastructure is based.  
  • Examples of drinking water supply owners in this category include: councils, government agencies, airports, community water supplies, camping ground, education facility. 
  • These entities will be listed as the owner in the registration record. 

Are you a trust? For example, a marae, iwi, hapū trust, family/whānau trust, community organisation trust, etc?   

  • The named trustees are the owners of any assets on behalf of the beneficiaries of the trust.  This may include the drinking water supply infrastructure and land on which the drinking water supply is based.  
  • Are decisions on funding or maintenance, collection of fees, or control of how the supply is resourced decided by all trustees (ie, collective decision) or by specific trustees? 
    • If a collective decision, all trustees should be listed as owners in the registration record. 
    • If by specific trustees, those trustees should be listed as owners in the registration record.  
  • If the land where the drinking water infrastructure is based is owned by an individual not in the trust, but still a key role in the decision-making on the location of or access to the infrastructure, consider including them as an owner in the registration record. 
  • The trust cannot be named as an owner as it is not a legal entity. 

Are you an individual supplying water to others? Where the consumers are in other buildings on your property or consume water you supply to other properties? 

  • If you are the sole decision-maker on investment and maintenance issues, collection of fees, or how the management of the supply is resourced, you are the owner for the registration record. 
  • If you have paid for and installed the infrastructure that other buildings and properties can connect to, you are the owner for the registration record.
  • If some individuals pay a fee for access to the water supply as consumers, but have no input into the decision-making, they should not be an owner, as they do not have effective control over the supply. 

Do you have multiple people involved in your water supply? For example, you may be an unincorporated group (eg, Blue River Bach Owners) or a group of individuals without any structure. The multiple individuals will be consumers of the supply and/or have components of the supply on one or more parcels of land.  

  • Are decisions on funding or maintenance, collection of fees, or control of how the supply is resourced decided by all individuals involved in the supply (ie, collective decision) or specific individuals? 
    • If a collective decision, all individuals should be listed as owners in the registration record. 
    • If by specific individuals, those individuals should be listed as owners in the registration record.  
  • If the land where the drinking water infrastructure is based is owned by an individual who is not a consumer of the supply, but still a key role in the decision-making on location of or access to the supply, consider including them as an owner in the registration record. 
  • If some individuals pay a fee to access the drinking water supply as consumers, but have no input into the decision-making, they should not be an owner, as they do not have effective control over the supply. 


APPENDIX: Examples of water supplies and who should be listed as owners

  • Wishbone Water Supply is owned by the Wishbone Water Supply Association, which is an incorporated society. The Association owns the infrastructure and sets and collects fees, levies and charges from its members (i.e. water consumers) of the water supply.  The Association also manages the operation of the supply, including the maintenance and determines how to resource the management of the supply. Wishing Well College is the owner of the land on which the abstraction point and treatment plant are located.  
    • Wishbone Water Supply Association is the owner and operator of the supply. Different people in the Association may be listed as the key owner contact and overall supply contact. 


  • Kakariki Lake Supply supplies drinking water to multiple private baches with different owners around a local lake. It is effectively owned by one individual (Kent Clarke) who has paid for and installed the infrastructure that crosses land owned by other owners to supply the consumers. The other owners are not involved or are passive in the decision making on the infrastructure. The owners who are consumers of the supply pay a levy for access, but are not involved in determining the amount of the levy.  
    • Only Kent Clarke is listed as the owner of the supply. 


  • Wild River Supply supplies drinking water to a small community of holiday homes.  The abstraction point is installed on the land of one of the holiday homes. All property owners share equally in the costs of the infrastructure through an annual levy. A small committee of four individuals make the decisions on investments and maintenance on behalf of all the consumers. This committee also subcontract the operation of the water supply. The owners have not formed a formal structure (e.g. incorporated society or unincorporated group).  
    • The four individuals on the committee are listed as owners of the supply in the registration record. 


  • The whānau of Tokerau Marae operate a water supply that supplies drinking water to the buildings on the marae and several houses in the community. A trust owns the whenua the marae and the water supply is located on, and paid for and installed the water supply infrastructure. There are six trustees of the trust.  All trustees are involved in the decision-making on the funding and management of the supply, including contracting an external service provider to manage and maintain the infrastructure. 
    • All trustees are listed as owners in the registration record