Drinking-water assistance programme

Safe drinking-water is a necessity for good health, but many small rural New Zealand communities do not have access to drinking-water that is shown to be safe. These are the communities that the Ministry of Health would like to help through the Drinking-water Assistance Programme.

This section provides information to the Drinking-water Assistance programme’s Technical Assistance Programme (including contact information for the facilitators in each region), the Drinking-water Subsidy Scheme and resources which include information on how to develop a water safety plan (formerly public health risk management plans).

Drinking-water Technical Assistance Programme

The Technical Assistance Programme will provide technical assistance to small water suppliers. Any supplier serving fewer than 5000 people can participate, and there is no charge.

However the principal target population size is for those supplies serving communities between 100 – 1000 people.

The Programme will:

  • help small drinking-water suppliers to make the most effective use of the equipment they already have
  • provide information on how best to operate their supply and on options for upgrading or improving supplies
  • include participating supplies on the Register of Community Drinking-water Supplies
  • assist in setting up groups of drinking-water suppliers to share knowledge and experiences
  • help to develop and implement water safety plans (formerly public health risk management plans) – see A Framework on How to Prepare and Develop Water Safety Plans for Drinking-water Supplies
  • assist to identify what capital development might be required for the supply.

Drinking Water Assistance Programme (DWAP) Facilitators

The Ministry of Health has appointed DWAP facilitators to assist in the delivery of this programme. These facilitators are located within the public health units of district health boards (DHB). They are the first point of contact for any drinking-water supplier wanting to know more about the programme. View public health unit contact details.

The DWAP facilitators will assist water suppliers to set up the collaborative capacity building groups (CCBGs). They will provide training on how to write water safety plans, and provide DVDs and other training resources on aspects of small drinking-water supplies. They will also arrange for independent technical advice to assist these groups make informed decisions about their supplies.

2006-2015 Drinking-water Subsidy Scheme

The Government has closed the ten year Drinking-water Subsidy Scheme to new applications.

What was the Drinking-water Subsidy Scheme?

The ten year programme aimed  to help small, disadvantaged communities establish or improve their drinking-water supplies.

What were the criteria for drinking-water subsidies?

The criteria for the Drinking-Water Subsidy Scheme included:

  • subsidy up to 85% of costs  
  • only those communities with a Deprivation Index (DI) of 7 and above were eligible.
  • that asset replacement, maintenance, land purchase and applications from city councils were not eligible for subsidies.
  • an engineering review was required for subsidy applications that exceeded $1,000 subsidy per person for a water supply scheme.

Who was eligible?

Drinking-water subsidies were available for drinking-water supplies that:

  • operated for the benefit of the community as a whole
  • supplied communities with a deprivation index or score (DI) of 7 and above
  • supplied between 25 and 5000 people and a minimum of 25 people for 60 days of the year (or 1500 person days per year)
  • were not operated for profit and are not able to charge fees (this excludes sports clubs, ski fields, camping grounds and other similar situations).

What was subsidised?

Water suppliers could apply for funding for water supply construction and the purchase of equipment necessary to manage risks to public health.

What is the technical assistance programme?

Technical assistance is available through the local DHB public health unit. It is available for any water suppliers to help them operate their drinking-water supply and to manage risks. It will also provide information on options for upgrading or improving supplies.

How do water suppliers access technical assistance?

Technical assistance is available to water suppliers through their local DHB public health unit.

Where can I get more information?

Your local DHB public health unit will be able to explain the subsidy scheme and provide technical assistance.

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