Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

More New Zealanders are drinking safe water

Media Release

5 December 2001

More New Zealanders are drinking safe water

A big improvement in the quality of drinking water supplied to New Zealanders -- especially to school pupils -- was seen in 2000, shows a report released by the Ministry of Health today.

The Annual Review of the Microbiological Quality of Drinking Water in New Zealand 2000 reports that 86 percent of the surveyed population, or 2.86-million New Zealanders have access to safe drinking water.

Better monitoring of water quality over the past year means that compared with 1999 about 220,000 more New Zealanders, or 4 percent, have access to drinking water that has been shown to be safe.

Ministry of Health Chief Advisor, Safety and Regulation, Dr Bob Boyd said this did not mean the rest of the population necessarily received unsafe drinking water, but rather that most of them got their drinking water from private domestic supplies or small rural supplies that were not being monitored.

The latest results from the report show there was a four-fold increase in the number of school suppliers that undertook bacteriological monitoring -- bringing the total to 48 percent.

There were 83 schools with their own water supplies that complied with drinking water standards in 2000, compared with only eight in 1999.

"We've seen a great improvement in how many schools monitor the safety of drinking water and in the number meeting standards and would like to thank many Boards of Trustees for their attention to this issue.

"There does still remain much room for improvement though, as half the schools with their own water supplies are still not monitoring the safety of the water they provide for their pupils to drink."

The report shows that of the 13 hospitals or health facilities nationwide that had independent water supplies, four did not meet the drinking water standards. Three failed due to inadequate monitoring or because they had no monitoring system at all. One private hospital failed because faecal coliforms were detected.

"The existence of faecal coliforms in a hospital water supply is an unsatisfactory situation as people who are already sick should not be exposed to contaminated water. However, the hospital that failed has improved its supply and has met safety standards during 2001.

"The microbiological quality of drinking-water is an important factor in maintaining public health. If we fail to maintain high microbiological standards there is the potential for outbreaks of disease."

Diseases that can be spread by contaminated water include cholera, typhoid, salmonellosis, shigellosis, giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis, campylobacteriosis.

ENDS

For more information contact: Anne-Marie Robinson, Media Advisor, ph: 04-496-2067 or 025-802 622 http://www.moh.govt.nz/media.html

For further information about schools contact:

Brian Mitchell Implementation Manager Property Management Group Ministry of Education 04 463 8285

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Where does the information in the report come from?

Public health service providers supply information through a questionnaire about the monitoring programmes carried out by water suppliers and the surveillance programmes they run.

What is a registered water supplier?

A registered water supply serves 25 people or more at least 60 days each year and is listed on the Ministry of Health register. This can include town and rural water supplies, food outlets, schools, marae, sports clubs, hospitals, hotels, motels and camping grounds. It may be privately or publicly owned.

Why is the Ministry of Health so concerned about drinking water quality?

The microbiological quality of drinking-water is an important factor in maintaining public health. Failure to maintain high microbiological standards by not managing bacteria and viruses leads to the potential for outbreaks of disease. Although the local community may become acclimatised to the presence of micro-organisms in the water and develop a resistance to them, visitors to the area may be affected.

What other activities are underway to improve the quality of drinking water?

The Annual Review of the Microbiological Quality of Drinking Water in New Zealand is part of a organised campaign that started in 1992 to improve the quality of the country's drinking-water. Other ways to develop the safety of the nation's drinking water developed since 1993 are:

The Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 1995 and 2000

External monitoring by Health Protection Officers

Register of Community Drinking Water Supplies

Public Health Grading of all Community Water Supplies

Annual Report on the Microbiological Quality of Drinking Water Supplies in New Zealand

Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality Management in New Zealand

Laboratory accreditation requirements for all testing laboratories

National electronic water quality database (WINZ)

Public Health Risk Management Plans for drinking water supplies

These activities have been very successful in improving the safety of public water supplies but the Ministry now believes it has reached the limit of what can be achieved with non-regulatory intervention. We recently proposed some amendments to the regulatory framework ? the Health (Drinking-Water Supplies) Amendment Act.

Who is responsible for school drinking water standards?

The safety of school drinking water supplies is the responsibility of the School Boards of Trustees, but where any major upgrade is necessary, such as a new bore, the Ministry of Education will undertake the work under its capital works programme. The Ministry of Education administers an annual inspection of each school, which now includes inspecting the standard of drinking water. The Ministry of Education has also updated its Health and Safety Code and refers to the drinking water standards.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Supermarket Scam, And On Tunisia’s Scrapping Of Democracy

Are we paying too much for our groceries? Hmm. Is the Pope a Catholic? Given that the two Australian supermarket chains that dominate our grocery industry routinely rack up profits in the order of $22 billion annually, that’s a no-brainer. Yet as with New Zealand’s other socio-economic problems created by our 1980s reforms, the practical solutions seem pretty thin on the ground... More>>

 


Government: Welcomes Draft Report On The Retail Grocery Sector

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister, David Clark said... More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty Action Group: Poverty Burden For Children Increased Due To Government Neglect - New Report

Poverty, inequity, homelessness and food insecurity are among the burdens which increased for tamariki Māori and other children in the first year of Covid-19 - partially due to Government neglect... More>>

Government: Cabinet Accepts Turkish Authorities’ Request For The Managed Return Of Three NZ Citizens

Cabinet has agreed to the managed return of a New Zealand citizen and her two young children from Turkey, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The three have been in immigration detention in Turkey since crossing the border from Syria earlier this year... More>>

ALSO:


NZUS Council: Welcomes Nomination Of Senator Tom Udall As US Ambassador To NZ

The NZUS Council welcomes the nomination of Senator Tom Udall to the role of US Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, NZUS Council executive director Jordan Small said... More>>

BusinessNZ: Visa Extensions Welcomed
BusinessNZ has welcomed the extension of some critical skill visa durations and changes to immigration systems to speed processing. Chief Executive Kirk Hope says move acknowledges advocacy by the hospitality sector, the BusinessNZ Network and others, and comes not a moment too soon.... More>>



Social Development: Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the release of the June quarter Benefit Statistics which show a continuing fall in the number of people receiving a Main Benefit... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels