Meeting the drinking-water standards
The Health Act 1956 requires drinking-water suppliers to take all practicable steps to meet the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand. These standards provide the yardstick against which water quality is measured. They provide detailed specifications for drinking-water suppliers, including maximum acceptable values for a range of contaminants and monitoring requirements.
Under the Drinking-Water Standards for New Zealand, suppliers are expected to test the water regularly to demonstrate that it is safe.
The drinking-water standards were produced by the Ministry of Health, which has a national function to ensure appropriate regulations are in place.
Water safety plans
Drinking-water suppliers who serve more than 500 people are required to implement water safety plans. Smaller water supplies may also develop water safety plans as a means of complying with the Act.
Water safety plans ensure the water supplier can more effectively manage their water supply as they will have identified multiple interventions at many levels so that, if one part of the system fails, the others are ready to compensate for this failure and provide back up.
The Health Act 1956 also requires water suppliers to keep records and to assist public health officers in any investigations. The Act provides for the appropriate management of drinking-water emergencies and includes an escalating series of penalties for non-compliance.