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Private Drinking Water Supply Pilot Project

The Water Services Act 2021 seeks to ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers through a new drinking water regulatory and risk management framework.

The Act requires more of councils and private drinking water suppliers.

  • At least once every three years, councils will be required to undertake drinking water supply assessments for their communities to determine water supply demand, safety, quality, and any potential risks. 
  • Council assessments must include communities who receive drinking water services from councils and also other drinking water suppliers /arrangements (including households within those communities).
  • By 2028, all unregistered drinking water suppliers, including rural, marae, and papakainga will need to meet drinking water standards, and rules, or be using an acceptable solution (defined in the Act).

There are also new obligations registered drinking water suppliers need to meet.

Private Water Supply Pilot Project Objectives

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With the changes to drinking water supplier responsibilities, the Hawke’s Bay’s four territorial authorities (Central Hawke’s Bay District Council, Hastings District Council, Napier City Council and Wairoa District Council) established the Hawke’s Bay Private Drinking Water Supply project.  

The project was established in mid-2021 to engage with a representative sample (50) of private drinking water suppliers in our communities to establish the best approach to help understand our new obligations under the Act.

The project team met with a cross-section of private drinking water suppliers across the Hawke’s Bay to:  

  • Better understand our communities’ private drinking water suppliers, their expectations and needs. 
  • Understand how the new regulations could be best implemented (from a council and community perspective). 
  • Engage with our communities to develop a repeatable methodology for drinking water assessments. 
  • Review Government’s draft Rules and Acceptable Solutions with private drinking water suppliers so that the implications of the proposals can be better understood.  

At the beginning of April 2022, the councils made a submission to Taumata Arowai, the new water regulator, as part of the consultation on the draft Drinking Water Rules, Acceptable Solutions, and Environmental Performance Measures.

The council’s submission includes a summary of insights and recommendations gathered from the engagement phase of the Private Water Supplies project. Hawke's Bay Council’s Submission Drinking Water Acceptable Solutions Drinking Water Standards

The Private Water Supplies Project was completed in June 2022 and the final report providing a detailed analysis of the findings can be found here. We note that the financial analysis in the report has been superseded by the release of Taumata Arowai’s New Standards, Rules and Aesthetic Values released in August 2022, having considered submissions from communities and stakeholders.


An important project for Private Drinking Water Suppliers

The project will help suppliers by:

  • Increase understanding of what the Water Services Act (2021) changes mean for them and the community they provide drinking water to.
  • A technical assessment on their drinking water supply and recommendations to help them plan for meeting their obligations.
  • Provide an opportunity to give feedback on the implications of the proposed regulations & acceptable solutions directly to Taumata Arowai (the regulator). 

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