New Zealand: Water, water everywhere – but not a drop to drink
The Stage One Report was released on 8 May 2017 and identified what happened, the cause of the outbreak and provided an assessment of the people and agencies responsible for providing safe drinking water to Havelock North.
There must be multiple barriers protecting water against contamination.
Suppliers must take responsibility for the safety of drinking water.
Mandate the treatment of drinking water The Inquiry has found that the risks of untreated drinking water are too high to allow for untreated water throughout New Zealand.
Amend the RMA to expressly recognise drinking water source protection The Report recommends under the principle of protecting source water, that section 6 and section 30 of the RMA are urgently amended to protect the sources of drinking water.
These changes will likely provide further tools for regional councils in relation to managing water quality, but also in relation to the complex issues associated with managing land use impacts on sources of drinking water.
Improve the compliance and accountability of drinking water providers The current regulation for drinking water standards is the DWSNZ.
Introduce a drinking water regulator and joint working groups The Inquiry found that due to the involvement of multiple health and environmental agencies in the regulation of drinking water, there are issues of collaboration and cooperation in management that are compromising the safety of drinking water.
In response to this, the Report recommends a single drinking water regulator be established .
It will be interesting to see which of the recommendations are prioritised and how the Government proposes to address the inevitable issues associated with the multi-agency responsibilities for the provision of drinking water in New Zealand.