Drinking Water

Kaikōura District Council operates 8 public water supply schemes supplying water/kātao  to over 3,000 properties.

For full information on each scheme check the information on this page under 'Our Water Schemes'. 

For a full list of the current Boil Water Notices, check the Boil Water Notice Reminder under Latest News

The November 2016 earthquake caused significant damage to a number of water schemes. 60% of the costs of water repairs and renewals for earthquake damage are being met by the Crown. 

Strengthening the safety and security of water schemes has been a high priority for Council over the Three Year plan 2018-2021.  Council is working to ensure all schemes meet national drinking water standards. 

Boil water notices

The latest information about current boil water notices can be found here.

Boil Water Notices (BWN) are put in place when there is an elevated risk of contamination of the supply or routine testing results show that acceptable limits for contaminants have been exceeded.

Living with Boil Water Notices can be frustrating. Council is doing everything possible to improve water quality and remove notices as soon as possible whilst keeping people healthy.

Residents or visitors using water from schemes with Boil Water Notices in place should boil all drinking/cooking water for at least 1 minute before use. This includes water for:

  • Drinking
  • Cooking
  • Making Ice
  • Brushing Teeth
  • Washing Dishes

Water Supply Problems

If you have a problem with your water supply, check if it's a problem with the pipes in your house, or the pipe between the Council’s service valve and your house. If this is the case the problem is the property owners responsibility.

For problems on the Council side of the 'point of supply', contact us by calling 03 319 5026 or request help through the easy online form here.

Our Water Schemes

How we look after your drinking water

What sort of testing does Council carry out on its’ water supplies?

Sampling and testing creates a picture of the water quality in the network. Council carries out both field tests and sampling tests.

Water sampling covers points throughout the supply network including: source, post treatment, post water storage reservoirs and at strategic points in the reticulation (pipe network).

Field tests are done at the same time that each water sample is taken. They give an indication of water quality at the time.

What do we test for?

Field tests check for residual chlorine (FAC) levels, combined available chlorine (CAC) and turbidity (suspended matter).  The results are available instantly. Innovative Waste and Council are notified when field test results that are abnormal.

Water samples are couriered to to an accredited laboratory in Christchurch in chilled condition and tested for E Coli and Total Coliforms.  It takes at least 24 hours to get a result 

Testing is compliant with the NZ Drinking Water Standards and has been approved by Councils Drinking Water Assessor.

How do we manage the scheme?

Council must have a Water Safety Plans (WSPs) for each water scheme. Council works with Food and Health NZ to look after our water schemes, including work on our WSPs. 

WSPs help ensure that drinking water meets NZ legal requirements and health guidelines. WSP's assess a drinking water scheme and the risks and demands associated with it. They include plans for treatment, distribution and monitoring to help manage water quality and reducing the risk of contamination. If needed, the plan also includes recommendations about what work is needed to make sure the scheme complies with NZ's drinking water standards. This includes operations & maintenance, monitoring and testing and treatment upgrades. 

Information about the current WSP status for Kaikōura's water safety schemes can be found under the 'Our Water Schemes' section above. 

Drinking Water Standards

The Health (Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2007 (an amendment to the Health Act 1956) came into force on 1 July 2008. This requires Councils to monitor drinking water and to take all practicable steps to comply with the Drinking Water Standards (DWS) as well as to implement risk management plans.

Three main themes are covered under the DWS:

  • Maximum Acceptable Values (water quality standards for microbial, chemical and radiological determinants)
  • Compliance criteria and reporting requirements
  • Remedial actions to be taken when non-compliance is detected.

Plumbosolvency Notice

In New Zealand, most drinking water is plumbosolvent, which means it can dissolve very small amounts of metals from older pipes or from metal fittings such as taps.  As an example, when you turn off a tap there will be a small amount of water left in the tap body.  If this water is left sitting in the tap for hours it may dissolve metals from the tap body. Some plumbing fittings have the potential to allow minute traces of metals to accumulate in water that is standing in the fittings for several hours.

Although the health risk is negligible, your local Council & the Ministry of Health is recommending that all households flush a cup of water from their drinking water taps each morning before use.  This is in line with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand.

All households are advised to take this precaution, whether they are on a public or private water supply. 

If you want to know more, check with your plumber or contact your local Council for more information.  



Paying for water in Kaikōura

Council splits the rates for water into a number of different charges to help spread the costs of supplying safe drinking water as fairly as possible. These are:

*Figures taken from the 2018-2021 3 Year Plan

**A “water unit” refers to a certain water connection, generally a rural water connection, that restricts the quantity of water supplied to a property, to the quantity of litres per day as specified