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Taumata Arowai – what it means for you

By now, most people will have heard of Taumata Arowai. But what does it actually mean and how will it affect you if you are on tank water?

Per year around 34,000 people across Aotearoa become ill from their drinking water. One of the recommendations after the Government enquiry into the Havelock North drinking water disaster, which resulted in up to 8,320 campylobacteriosis illnesses and at least four deaths, was to create an independent drinking water regulator that sits outside of Council and Government to keep water suppliers in check.

Taumata Arowai has been established to do just that. It is mandated to help all drinking water suppliers realise they have a duty of care to provide safe drinking water to their communities.

Want to know more about Taumata Arowai and its intention? Check out this short video

Ross Muggeridge, Commercial Pump Engineer at Davey Water Products is part of the Taumata Arowai Reference Group – a team of technical water experts who are helping make decisions on how the scheme will be implemented.

“Ultimately Taumata Arowai will seek to provide safe water to everyone by putting in place a framework which guarantees a continued supply of safe drinking water. To ensure this is a success there are equipment, servicing and operating standards coming into play. The goal is to ensure the guidelines are prescriptive – that they not only tell you the end result but how to get there,” he says.

There are two separate water supplier groups who will be regulated by Taumata Arowai. The first group supply water to multiple dwellings e.g. councils or water schemes in small rural villages. Any water scheme providing water to more than 500 houses comes under Health/NZ drinking water standards and they are already quite regulated.

Where PASLR customers are likely to be impacted is within the second group, which is individuals who are collecting rainwater or bore water for household use. Under the new framework, this water must be made safe for use throughout the house at the point at which the water enters your property. The only way you can do this is through a sanitising agent such as chlorine or three-stage filtration which includes UV sterilisation.

Rain water tank on the side of a house

Ross says the only domestic household uses where you don’t need safe water is outdoor taps used for irrigation or toilets. “Every other use of water throughout the house has the potential to be ingested so needs to be treated,” he says.

How PASLR can help

The new framework is still in development and a compliance period will soon come into play, giving people enough time to make changes to meet the new regulations (just like it did with Healthy Homes). At PASLR we not only offer a full range of water treatment solutions to meet the incoming standards, we have a team of highly-experienced water technicians who can advise you on the water treatment that best suits your property or situation. Our thorough record keeping, regular maintenance plans plus access to live data and monitoring of your equipment means you’ll always be ahead of the game.

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Did you know? To achieve compliance with the new water reform if you’re on tank water, you will need to have UV sterilisation equipment that meets the NSF/ANSI 55 Class A, or equivalent international standard.

Did you know? In New Zealand, 85% of water is provided by local government however there are around 75,000 private drinking water suppliers who will come under the Taumata Arowai regulation.

Did you know? Around 80% of rural schools are using untreated tank water for their drinking water. The Three Waters Reform will mean they must have access to clean, safe drinking water.

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