Official agencies, like the government, set the drinking water quality standards based on scientific advice. However, government organisations, local councils and water supplying businesses must monitor their water quality and follow guidelines to ensure safe drinking water.
The Drinking Water Guidelines in New Zealand explain the development of the Standards and provide advice for achieving high levels of water quality management, providing high quality and safe drinking water. The Guidelines help water suppliers to achieve the standards.
As a developed country, New Zealand is fortunate that the majority of the population has access to clean drinking water. Safe and adequate sanitation is what makes most of New Zealand drinking water drinkable.
Alkaline water and the alkalinity level is determined by mineral content. Alkaline minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium, and the higher the mineral levels, the more alkaline the water will be. The New Zealand Drinking Water Standards value drinking water pH between 7-8.5. Drinking water outside of these ranges isn’t necessarily bad. The standards just provide a guideline for water suppliers to follow. On the other hand, bottled spring and mineral water tend to range in pH between 5-10.
pH is the potential hydrogen ion concentration, a measure of acidity and alkalinity ranging from 0-14, with a pH of 7.0 being neutral. Alkaline water, opposite to acidic water, has a pH of 7 and above. Our body’s blood and cells sit just above neutral, being naturally slightly alkaline with a pH of 7.4. But due to how the food and beverages we consume tend to be acidic, it is not uncommon to upset the body’s natural balance. Alkaline water consumption can help keep the body in equilibrium.
New Zealand Drinking Water legislation is broken into three main parts, explaining how water is managed and assured quality.
The environment is the source of water, as water comes from below ground or from surface catchments. It’s mainly governed by the Resource Management Act 1991.
Water suppliers are responsible for obtaining the raw water from the environment and storage, assessment, treatment, and distribution. Water suppliers are required to contribute towards protecting water from contamination.
Storage and distribution of water in tanks and pipes up until it is used is governed by the Building Act 2004. The Building Act is responsible for water once it leaves networked public supply and enters the building owner’s property.
Regular monitoring can show what is in water but is mainly used for drinking water alone. A lot of New Zealand’s drinking water has chlorine added to kill certain bacteria, viruses and other organisms that make water potentially unsafe to consume.
Some areas of New Zealand do not have water treated with chlorine, which doesn’t necessarily mean the water is unsafe to drink. However, opinions differ between the risks and benefits of drinking treated or untreated water. Other common things present in New Zealand drinking water include fluoride and lime.
Fluoride is a natural element often added to public water supplies to reduce tooth decay. The fluoride amount is often 0.7-1.0 parts per million in water.
Chlorine is added during the treatment process to kill harmful bacteria. It evaporates quickly and has been used around the world for over 100 years.
Lime is often added to drinking water to protect the water supply pipes from corrosion.
Stay up to date with New Zealand drinking water-related news. As water standards change, we’re committed to ever-developing new, innovative technology to help monitor water quality, which abides by government drinking water regulations.