About our water network
We currently own and operate seven water supply schemes in the district:
- Three larger supplies for Matamata (including Waharoa), Morrinsville and Te Aroha
- Four small schemes in Te Poi, Tahuna, Hinuera and Te Aroha West.
Each one has at least one treatment plant, and the district has a total of 325 kilometres of pipes. We are currently looking at options to supply fully treated water to Te Aroha West, until then a permanent boil water notice is in place for this supply.
Keeping your water running
Like any major infrastructure system, our water network requires ongoing maintenance to keep it functioning properly. With such a massive network of pipes of varying ages, also comes problems (like leaks). These factors mean that we can’t guarantee water to your property 24/7, but we do our best to provide an uninterrupted supply where possible.
- If we are completing planned maintenance we will notify you in advance of the date and time that your water will be unavailable (usually with a flyer in your letterbox)
- If we are completing unplanned work (e.g. repairing a leak), you will not be notified
In both cases, we always try to complete the work and restore water to your property as fast as possible.
If you need an uninterrupted supply, we recommend you install suitable storage to ensure this.
Keeping your water safe
How can I be sure the water I’m drinking is safe?
The Ministry of Health sets ‘New Zealand Drinking Water Standards’ (NZDWS) to ensure that safe drinking water is available to everyone. The NZDWS define the minimum standards for drinking water in New Zealand, and the water we treat and pipe to your home needs to meet those standards. To meet these requirements, we started upgrading water suppliers and water treatment facilities four years ago in order to meet these requirements.
We have recently approved Public Health Management Plans for the Matamata and Morrinsville water supplies and hope to have one for Te Aroha very soon. These plans encourage the use of risk-management principles during treatment and distribution of water (so that monitoring is not the only water quality management technique) – this reduces the likelihood of contaminants entering our water supplies in the first place. All supplies except Te Aroha West are chlorinated. Chlorine continues to protect the water long after the water has left the treatment plant, protecting your water while in the pipes. For the smaller supply at Te Aroha West we use an ultraviolet lamp (UV) to sterilize the water. Chlorine and UV are the most cost efficient way to treat small water supplies, like those in the Matamata-Piako district.
What systems are in place to test the quality of our drinking water?
We have lots of processes in place to monitor the quality and safety of our drinking water.
The water treatment plants are constantly monitored by water technicians, who carry out tests to ensure the water is safe to drink (such as pH, turbidity and chlorine tests). At the larger plants also we have an online monitoring system that checks processes and monitors the water quality – if anything isn’t quite right, the system will alert water treatment staff via email and their mobile phones (no matter what time of the day or night).
On top of these measures, we also send samples of our water to independent laboratories, who test the quality of the water to make sure we’re providing safe water to our communities. These independent tests are a requirement of the NZDWS, and the results are published on the Ministry of Health Water Information New Zealand database
What are water gradings?
In order to compare water supplies and identify those that may not be delivering quality water, the Ministry of Health grades water supplies around the country. This is a voluntary system and Council has opted not to participate as it believes compliance with the NZ Drinking Water Standards to be a more meaningful process. If you are interested, you can find out more information about the gradings and what they mean on the Ministry of Health’s website
What is backflow and why do we need to prevent it?
Backflow occurs when water pressure drops in the water mains and creates a ‘siphon’ effect – sucking water that has already been delivered to a property (and could have been contaminated) back into the water mains.
Backflow is one of the biggest risks to our water supply, as it is a potential source of contamination that can seriously affect the quality and safety of our drinking water.
Some properties (such as hair dressers, dentists, hospitals, schools, mortuaries, rural blocks with town supply, and those with swimming pools) are required to have backflow prevention devices to meet Ministry of Health standards. Properties with backflow prevention devices need to send Council a copy of their current test certificate every 12 months. If you have any questions about backflow prevention call us on 0800 746 467.
How would Council let me know if the water wasn’t safe to drink?
In the unlikely event that our drinking water supply became contaminated we would do everything we could to ensure you are informed including:
- Flyer drops into letterboxes
- Radio advertisements
- Updates in local newspapers and/or the Waikato Times
- Notices on this website
- Notices on our Facebook page
- Sending an emergency text alert to text subscribers
As part of our normal processes we are regularly in contact with the Ministry of Health - if there were any major problems with the water supply, the Ministry would be informed straight away and would help keep people informed of what actions to take.
If you have questions or concerns about the water supply in your area, please contact us on 0800 746 467.