Access to safe drinking-water

This section provides statistics on the population who have access to safe drinking-water in New Zealand.

Drinking-water safety is measured with:

  • bacteriological compliance (drinking-water meets E. coli  standards)
  • protozoal compliance (sufficient treatment to kill protozoa).

On this page:

Most New Zealanders have access to safe drinking-water
People on the North Island have better access to safe drinking-water

Most New Zealanders have access to safe drinking-water

In 2016–2017, 3.7 million New Zealanders were on registered community drinking-water supplies that served more than 100 people [1].

Among people on these supplies:

  • 96 percent had access to bacteriological compliant drinking-water
  • 83 percent had access to protozoal compliant drinking-water
  • 81 percent had access to drinking-water that met all microbiological and chemical requirements.

The overall compliance rate had increased by 1 percentage point since 2015–16.

Table 1: Percentage of population served by compliant drinking-water, 2016–17 (*among people on registered community drinking-water supplies serving populations of over 100 people)

Population with access to compliant drinking-water* Estimated number of people Percent of registered population*
Total population on registered supplies serving population of over 100 people 3,815,000 100.0%
Population with bacteriological compliant drinking-water 3,669,000 96.2%
Population with protozoal compliant drinking-water *** 3,170,000 83.1%
Population with chemical compliant drinking-water 3,709,000 97.2%
Population with fully compliant drinking-water (bacteriological, protozoal, chemical) 3,095,000 81.1%

Source: Ministry of Health [1]

People on the North Island have better access to safe drinking-water

There were regional differences in access to safe drinking-water.  In general, people on smaller drinking-water supplies were less likely to be supplied by compliant drinking-water than people on larger supplies.

In 2016–17 in the North Island, among the population on registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people:

  • 96 percent (2.8 million) was served drinking-water complying with bacteriological standard
  • 89 percent (2.5 million) was served drinking-water complying with protozoal standard.

In the South Island, among the population on registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people:

  • 96 percent (0.9 million) was served drinking-water complying with bacteriological standard
  • 66 percent (0.6 million) was served drinking-water complying with protozoal standard.

Figure 1: Percentage of the population with access to bacteriological compliant drinking-water, 2016-17 (*among the population on registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people) 

 

Figure 2: Percentage of the population with access to protozoal compliant drinking-water, 2016-17 (*among the population on registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people) 

Source: Ministry of Health [1]

Information about this indicator

These data come from the Annual Reports on Drinking-water Quality [1].

Statistics on access to safe drinking-water are only available for registered drinking-water supplies serving more than 100 people. 

Safe drinking-water is defined as meeting the Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand, which set maximum acceptable levels to protect human health.

  • Bacteriological compliance is determined primarily using the reference organism E. coli.
  • Protozoal compliance is based on the effectiveness of the treatment processes used to remove or disinfect the protozoa Cryptosporidium.

References

  1. Ministry of Health. 2018. Annual Report on Drinking-water Quality 2016–2017. Wellington: Ministry of Health.