Drinking-water

The new regulator, Taumata Arowai, took over as the drinking water regulator on 15 November 2021 when the Water Services Act 2021 came into effect.

Safe drinking-water is necessary for good health. The Ministry of Health engages with public health professionals and authorities to formulate policy for achieving safe drinking-water supplies and effective sanitation in New Zealand.

View the latest Annual Report on Drinking-water Quality 2019–2020.

Taumata Arowai: a new water regulator

All New Zealanders deserve safe, reliable, and affordable water services that support good health and sustainable environmental outcomes.

The government has developed a new regulatory framework for ensuring Aotearoa’s drinking-water is safe, and to improve environmental outcomes for wastewater and stormwater. This is called the Three Waters Reform. More information about the Reform can be found on the Three Waters Reform Programme website.

The new framework will be overseen by Taumata Arowai, the new and independent water services regulator.

Taumata Arowai became fully operational as the drinking-water regulator when the Water Services Act 2021 came into effect on 15 November 2021. Part 2A (Drinking Water) of the Health Act 1956 was repealed from this date.

Taumata Arowai has been developing new drinking water standards for water suppliers, which will replace the current Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand (DWSNZ) and come into effect on 1 July 2022.

The Ministry of Health will remain as the organisation in change of drinking-water policy, and will work closely with Taumata Arowai.

More information about Taumata Arowai and their regulatory role can be found on the Taumata Arowai website.

Information for water suppliers

Water suppliers must continue to follow the DWSNZ until 1 July 2022, when the new drinking water standards come into effect. The Water Services Act will take precedence in any instances where existing DWSNZ do not align with the Act.

Further information for water suppliers can be found on the Taumata Arowai website.

Register of drinking-water suppliers

Taumata Arowai is now responsible for the drinking-water register. All drinking water suppliers registered with the Ministry of Health immediately before 15 November 2021 will have their recorded drinking water supplies transferred to the Taumata Arowai register. This migration will happen automatically and will be administered by Taumata Arowai. 

The old Ministry register will be available until Taumata Arowai publishes the new register. The old register can be viewed on the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited (ESR) website: Drinking-water Register for New Zealand.

Taumata Arowai is responsible for the drinking-water register.

Accredited Laboratories for New Zealand

Laboratories that were recognised by the Director-General of Health for the purposes of Part 2A of the Health Act 1956 are automatically accredited laboratories under the Water Services Act 2021. They will be able to continue to provide water analysis services for a transitional period. 

Further information for laboratories can be found on the Taumata Arowai website.

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