Water  |  3 Dec 2021

The new water services regulator Taumata Arowai has met with Christchurch City Council to discuss its planned approach to providing safe drinking water.

Taumata Arowai Chief Executive Bill Bayfield met with Council Chief Executive Dawn Baxendale this week to talk about the responsibilities under the new Water Services Act 2021 and how the Council will continue to provide safe drinking water to the people of Christchurch.

Mr Bayfield says that following the discussions, the Council has committed to maintain its current level of chlorination – about 80 per cent of the current supply – while it considers its approach to drinking water safety planning under the new Water Services Act.

Mrs Baxendale says it was a positive meeting. “It was good to meet and be assured that Taumata Arowai will continue to work with the Council as it assesses the requirements of the new legislation, including what may be required to support a new drinking water safety plan and any subsequent application for an exemption from chlorination.’’

From 1 March next year, drinking water suppliers like the Christchurch City Council will be able to apply for an exemption to the default requirement to provide for the use of residual disinfection (most commonly, using chlorine).

Taumata Arowai will assess each exemption application to determine whether the supplier can provide safe drinking water without a residual disinfectant. In the meantime, suppliers must ensure that the drinking water they supply is safe.

“Taumata Arowai recognises that Christchurch City Council is in a unique position. We will continue to meet with Council to discuss the performance of its drinking water supplies and its approach to the management of any related risks. Both organisations want to make sure Christchurch residents continue to receive safe drinking water that complies with drinking water standards,” says Mr Bayfield. 

Mayor Lianne Dalziel is pleased that Taumata Arowai recognises the unique position that Christchurch is in and the Council’s commitment to providing safe drinking water to residents.

"This week's meeting with Mr Bayfield and the subsequent letter we have received from him tells me that we are on the right track to be able to apply for an exemption from the chlorine mandate next year,'' the Mayor says.