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Water Services Act

What you need to know
Learn more about The Water Services Act 2021

The Water Services Act 2021 was bought in to ensure that Kiwis everywhere have access to a safe supply of drinking water, with a recent report from regulator, Taumata Arowai, showing that nearly half a million Kiwis do not.

It applies to all entities who supply water including schools who operate their own water supply, through to rural properties who supply water to their neighbours from a bore.

What is the purpose of The Act?

The purpose of the Act is to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers by: 

a. “Providing a drinking water regulatory framework that is consistent with internationally accepted best practice, including a duty on drinking water suppliers to

i. Have a drinking water safety plan; and
ii. Comply with legislative requirements (such as drinking water standards) on a consistent basis; and

b. Providing a source water risk management framework that, together with the Resource Management Act 1991, regulations made under that Act, and the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management 2020, enables risks to source water to be properly identified managed, and monitored; and

c. Providing mechanisms that enable the regulation of drinking water to be proportionate to the scale, complexity, and risk profile of each drinking water supply. “

The Act has the following additional purposes:

a. “To establish a framework to provide transparency about the performance of drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater networks and network operators; and

b. To provide mechanisms that build and maintain capability among drinking water suppliers and across the wider water services sector; and

c. To establish a framework for the continuous and progressive improvement of the quality of water services in New Zealand.”

NZ Water Services Act
2021, ss. 8

Filtered, purified water

What is a drinking water supplier under The Act?

In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, drinking water supplier

(a) “means a person who supplies drinking water through a drinking water supply; and

(b) includes a person who ought reasonably to know that the water they are supplying is or will be used as drinking water; and

(c) includes the owner and the operator of a drinking water supply; and

(d) includes a person described in paragraph (a), (b), or (c) who supplies drinking water to another drinking water supplier; but

(e) does not include a domestic self-supplier.”

NZ Water Services Act
2021, ss. 8

Are you a water supplier under The Act?

Registration required

If you own or operate a water supply (that you know, or ought reasonably to know) is being used as drinking water by people outside of your own home, you are a Drinking Water Supplier and will have responsibilities under The Water Services Act 2021.

Registration is required by 15th November 2025

Domestic Self Supply

– Registration NOT Required. A ‘Domestic Self-Supply’ is a SINGLE HOUSE or DWELLING with its OWN water supply. If you are a drinking water supplier you’ll need to register with Taumata Arowai by November 2025 and comply by November 2028.

Here are some examples of what a water supplier is -

Examples from the Act – Are you a water supplier?

  • A single property with tenants on a lease that is supplied by a rainwater tank is a domestic self-supply.
  • A single holiday house that is supplied by a rainwater tank and is rented to tourists on a short-term basis is a domestic self-supply.
  • A multi-dwelling building (for example, multiple separate apartments contained in a single building) that has its own bore water supply is a water supplier.
  • A marae wharekai (dining hall) or community hall that has its own river water supply is a water supplier.
  • A café building supplied by a rainwater tank is a water supplier.

What do I need to do?

Drinking Water Safety Plan

The legislation is being implemented in stages. Existing unregistered suppliers have until 15 November 2025 to register, and 15 November 2028 to comply.

Under the Act you are required to have a Drinking Water Safety Plan and follow the specified drinking water standards.

Acceptable Solution

You do however have the option to implement what is termed an ‘acceptable solution’, which may save you from having to submit a Drinking Water Safety Plan.

Watersmart has an ‘acceptable solution’ in place called WaterSAFE. It is a great option for a water supply for less than 500 people.

Why Choose Our Water Treatment Solutions

Prebuilt plug and play

Reduces on-site installation time and build costs.

Reduced costs

With system standardisation for multi-site end users.

Prewired and tested

 It requires only connection to your pumped water supply, delivery line and 20 amp power supply.

Customisable range

Available in a customisable range of configurations to suit all end point applications and flow rates.

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