Saving water during water shortage

Tips on saving water during water shortage while staying healthy.

Drinking water

If you’re not sure whether your water is safe to drink, check with your local council that it complies with the drinking water standards for New Zealand.

We all need to drink at least 8 cups of fluid a day. In addition, use drinking water:

  • for cooking food
  • in a bowl, for washing fruit or vegetables
  • in your own cup, for cleaning teeth
  • hot, for washing dishes
  • hot, for washing hands
    • before food preparation
    • after using the toilet
    • after changing baby
    • after activities like gardening.

Don’t share hand washing water.

Using the shower

  • Every second day is OK – you can wash on the other day.
  • Limit time of shower, eg, 4 minutes.

Using the toilet

  • Flush after a bowel motion.
  • Close the lid after urinating, but no need to flush.

Other water supplies

Rainwater, bore water, etc – these may not be safe for drinking in areas with treated town supply. River, lake or swimming pool water can be used for:

  • washing clothes
  • washing floors
  • watering plants
  • cleaning cars
  • pouring into toilet to flush.

Do not use for drinking, brushing teeth or washing dishes.

Baby care

  • Continue to sterilise bottles etc.
  • Keep on washing nappies in the usual way.
  • If bathing baby every second day, wash face, ears, hands, bottom on the other day.

Schools, marae, rest homes, child care,etc

  • Continue to use dishwashers and washing machines.
  • Continue to use new water each time for hand washing – don’t share water.
  • Follow the hygiene practices as set out for your institution.

Where groups of people are gathered, don’t risk sickness by taking short cuts!

For more advice

Public health staff are available to give advice on safe ways of saving water. Contact a health protection officer at the public health unit of your local district health board or the environmental health officer at your local council.

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