Water New Zealand is reminding people heading on holiday this summer to take care when drinking the water at holiday houses and camping grounds.
Chief executive Gillian Blythe says that many holiday destinations rely on tank water which can easily become contaminated by vermin or bird droppings.
“So it’s important to remember to boil any water from rainwater tanks before drinking.”
But she says even water supplied by councils, particularly in small and rural communities, can be at risk and it’s important to make sure you don’t miss local advisories.
“Many small and rural communities don’t have the resources to ensure the same level of drinking water quality and safety as in most of our larger urban areas – and this includes council supplied water.
“For instance, the latest report from the water services regulator, Taumata Arowai has revealed that across the country 50 percent of councils issued consumer advisory notices last year indicating an issue with their water supply. These advisories affected 87 supplies across many parts of the country.
The Drinking Water Regulation Report 2022 also reported that 164 boil water notices were issued by councils.
“When a supplier issues a boil water notice, it means that E-coli has been discovered and the water has been contaminated, typically by faecal matter.
“While Queenstown’s recent boil water notice received nationwide attention, these notices are not infrequent, particularly in small communities.”
The other potential danger is when swimming at the beach, lakes or rivers. It may not be safe for swimming for two to three days following rain.
“This is because heavy rain can cause stormwater runoff and sewage overflows, turning swimming spots into E.coli-risk zones.”
If it has been raining heavily, check with your local council or with the LAWA website which has the latest information on water quality at popular swimming sites around the country.
“In the end we want everyone to have a safe, enjoyable and relaxing summer break and a few precautions will help ensure a happy holiday this season.”