Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Consultation flows on safer drinking water

Associate Minister for the Environment, Kiri Allan, is urging all New Zealanders to give feedback on proposed changes aimed at making drinking water safer.

“The current regulations are not fit for purpose and don’t offer enough protection, particularly for those whose water comes from smaller supplies,” Minister Allan said.

“This was highlighted in the 2016 campylobacter outbreak in Havelock North when close to 60 people were hospitalised.

“We are proposing improvements in three areas; standardising the way we define source water areas, strengthening regulation of activities around water sources, and adding more water suppliers to the register.”

The changes recognise Te Mana o te Wai, the fundamental importance of water to the health and wellbeing of our people and our environment, she said.

“No one should have to worry that their water may not be safe to drink.”

“Making sure our rivers, lakes and ground waters are free from contamination is the first step in protecting our drinking water supplies, so it’s crucial we have protections in place along each stage of the water supply process, from source to tap.

“The proposed changes will help water suppliers to maintain and improve water quality around drinking water catchments,” the Minister said.

Consultation on changes to the National Environmental Standard for Sources of Human Drinking Water (NES-DW) begins today and runs until March 6. Feedback will be used to further refine the proposed changes to the NES-DW, before the regulations are redrafted and gazetted later in 2022.

The consultation document and online consultation form are available on the Ministry for the Environment’s website: https://consult.environment.govt.nz/freshwater/nes-drinking-water.

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