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Your drinking water

Watercare is committed to providing Aucklanders with a safe and reliable water supply that meets the requirements of the New Zealand Drinking Water Standards.

What we test for

Raw water is comprehensively analysed for contaminants that would be harmful or detrimental to your health. These include algae, faecal coliforms, giardia, and cryptosporidium. Safety measures that prevent contamination include temporary shut off of a particular supply. This situation occurred in 2000 when algae contaminated the Waitakere dams, and again in 2002 when a truck carrying chemicals overturned in Hamilton potentially affecting the Waikato River supply.

Learn about the quality of your water:
Auckland Water Treatment Plants Data
Central Auckland Water Supply Zones Data 
Northern Auckland Water Supply Zones Data 
Southern Auckland Water Supply Zones Data​ ​ ​



Water quality and plumbosolvency

 

What does ‘plumbosolvency’ mean?
How do I know whether or not my water is plumbosolvent?
Is my water safe to drink?
Are there any health risks with plumbosolvent water?
Does it matter if I am on public or private water supplies?
Is there a problem with the water supply?

What does ‘plumbosolvency’ mean?

Plumbosolvency is the ability of a solvent (usually a liquid) to dissolve other substances.

Plumbosolvent water is slightly acidic, which means it can dissolve any metals that it comes into contact with. If it is left sitting for several hours in your household plumbing fittings it can result in small amounts of heavy metals from these fittings entering the water supply. 

Heavy metals commonly dissolved in drinking water from household plumbing fittings include lead, nickel, cadmium and copper.

 

How do I know whether or not my water is plumbosolvent?

Most of the water in New Zealand is plumbosolvent to some extent because most of the water here is slightly acidic.

Under the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2008), the Ministry of Health requires water suppliers to alert residents to the issue of plumbosolvency. For water supplies servicing more than 1,000 people, such as Watercare, this is done through publishing a public notice, provided by the Ministry of Health, twice a year.

Water supplies are considered to be plumbosolvent until the water supplier can show that their supply is not plumbosolvent.

 

Is my water safe to drink?

Plumbosolvency is not about the quality of the drinking water but about whether the water has had prolonged contact with metals. We continue to meet the requirements of the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2008) and deliver safe water that you can enjoy from your taps each day. 

Read our water quality reports.

 

Are there any health risks with plumbosolvent water?

Heavy metals are a health concern whether they come from drinking water, air or food. They can build up in the organs of your body. High levels can be harmful to your health.

The Ministry of Health believes that the risk from heavy metals in drinking water is small. However, as a precaution, it recommends that all households flush a glass (500ml) of water from their drinking water tap each morning to eliminate the risk.

Infants, children and pregnant women are more susceptible to the toxic effects of heavy metals, so steps should be taken to reduce heavy metal concentrations in water that may be consumed by this group.

Lead is the main heavy metal in drinking water and the one that poses the greatest health concern. Lead cannot be removed from the body, so it builds up in the skeleton and can damage nerves and organs. Infants, children and pregnant women are most susceptible to lead's toxic effects that can include brain and kidney damage.

 

Does it matter if I am on public or private water supplies?

No. Flushing your drinking water taps is recommended for all households, including those on public and private water supplies.

 

Is there a problem with the water supply?

No. This is not about the chemical quality of the drinking water supply but about whether the water has had prolonged contact with metals in household plumbing fittings.

Click here for more information about the Ministry of Health’s drinking water standards.