Water Services Act 2021: A Drinking Water Suppliers Guide to Compliance

Apr 21, 2022 | Insights

GWE is delighted to announce the release of its 30 page practical guide, Water Services Act 2021: A Drinking Water Suppliers Guide to Compliance, dated April 2022. The guide has been developed as a comprehensive and easy to read document that provides detailed assistance to Drinking Water Suppliers on compliance with the new legislation. Our comprehensive guide adds to a range of information already available from Taumata Arowai, our new Water Services Regulator, as well as the Water New Zealand Competency Framework for small water supplies, says Maria Johnson, GWE’s Water Sector Leader. 

To download your copy of Water Services Act 2021: A Drinking Water Suppliers Guide to Compliance, just click the image below.

The primary purpose of the legislation is to ensure that any Drinking Water Supplier that supplies water to a community or business, including a winery, restaurant, tourist accommodation, rest home, marae, school or childcare centre will have new rules to comply with to ensure there is a safe supply of drinking water for customers, staff or the public. The challenges Drinking Water Suppliers face providing secure drinking water to customers, staff and the public are there, all year round. 

“As a Drinking Water Supplier, this reform will have an effect on your business and you will have to adapt to the changes. You may choose to be an early adopter for brand reasons and peace of mind or leave it till later to see how the market responds, says Maria”.

Our guide includes easy to read sections to walk you through this new legislation and what it means for every aspect of your water supply.

Regulatory Framework and Definitions of Terms under the Water Services Act 2021

Our practical guide gives you a one-stop summary of what you need to know with regards to the relevant terms and documents associated with the water reform and what they mean to you. The compliance regulatory framework is illustrated in the following flowchart in our practical guide to show you that there are two ways to demonstrate compliance with the Act and associated Standards and Aesthetic Values; you can either adopt an Acceptable Solution, or comply with the Quality Assurance Rules 2021, which involve as a minimum a Water Safety Plan and a Source Water Risk Management Plan, in addition to additional manuals and plans detailed in the Rules for your particular supply types. 

Compliance Regulatory Framework

Source: Water Services Act 2021: A drinking Water Suppliers Guide to Compliance – Section 1

Regardless the compliance solution adopted, you will be required to register and communicate and report, with Taumata Arowai as detailed in the Acceptable Solution or Rules, depending on the compliance option adopted.

Compliance Timeline

The Act came into effect and became law on 15 November 2021. Taumata Arowai took over from the Ministry of Health as regulator of drinking water for Aotearoa. All statutory timeframes are from that date.

  • Registered supplies have 1 year to confirm their registration and comply with the Act.
  • Unregistered supplies have up to 4 years to register and 7 years to comply with the Act.
  • Any new supply requires immediate registration and compliance with the Act.

Registration is via Hinekorako, the new on-line portal with Taumata Arowai.

Drinking Water Safety Plan

The Act requires all suppliers to develop a Drinking Water Safety Plan (WSP) as part of demonstrating compliance within the timeline of your specific supply category. The WSP is every supplier’s plan for providing safe water to its consumers and covers compliance with the DWSNZ 2021, Drinking Water Aesthetic Values 2021, and Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules 2021. The only exemption from preparing a WSP is if a supply decides to, and is able to, adopt an Acceptable Solution. 

Details of WSP requirements and what it means for your supply in provided in Section 4 of our practical guide.

Drinking Water Acceptable Solutions

If your existing supply fits the requirements of an Acceptable Solution or you choose to adopt an Acceptable Solution for your new supply, there is no need to have a WSP or comply with the Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules 2021. Acceptable Solutions provide drinking water suppliers with a ready-made option to meet their compliance obligations under the Act. They apply to particular supply types and situations and must be implemented in their entirety.

The Acceptable Solutions and what they require are explained in Section 5 of our practical guide.

Source, Treatment, Storage and Distribution

The Act requires all suppliers to develop a Source Water Risk Management Plan as part of demonstrating compliance. Our guide provides you with what to look for in different source water types and what source water risk management looks like.

A drinking water supply must be treated according to its type and size as part of the Rules, unless an Acceptable Solution is adopted. The rules cover a range of treatment processes depending on the contaminants that require control. Our practical guide explains the different treatment processes available to you and what to look for.

The distribution system requires some monitoring and testing for key parameters, disinfection by-products and plumbosolvent metals. It requires a backflow prevention programme, as well as monitoring and testing of devices as stated in the Rules. Read Section 8 of our practical guide to assist you with these requirements.

Monitoring, Reporting and Notifications

Monitoring is an essential part of the multiple barrier approach to good drinking water management. The results of monitoring indicate whether your barriers to contamination are working properly. The Act contains many requirements for drinking water suppliers to notify Taumata Arowai, such as non-compliances. Read Section 9 of our guide for a summary of key practical requirements of the Act.

“The most important aspect of the reform is the safety of drinking water and managing risks. The targets for water quality haven’t changed, it’s about getting it right, consistently. Small supplies have unique challenges, and the best thing you can do is start early so you understand the risks and plan to make the changes for a safe and reliable water supply, says Maria.”

For further information please get in touch

Maria Johnson, Water Sector Leader, GWE Consulting Engineers
e. maria.johnson@gwe.co.nz
p. 021 288 8782

About GWE Consultants Ltd

GWE is a growth company and a leading provider of professional engineering services to the infrastructure and land/property development sectors. We specialise in environmental services, geotechnical, land development, drinking water, wastewater engineering and stormwater management. We currently have a number of opportunities for graduate, mid-career and senior engineers and scientists. To find out more visit our careers page, https://gwe.co.nz/careers/