Restrictions and boil water notices
Everything you need to know about water restrictions and boil water notices in Kāpiti.
There are currently no Council water restrictions in Kāpiti.
Water meters, the River Recharge scheme, and increased awareness of water consumption (consumption has reduced by more than 26 percent since water meters were introduced) mean there is enough water to manage the worst drought conditions.
18 July 2021 – a precautionary boil water notice is in place for Hautere/Te Horo residents.
Residents are advised to boil their tap water before use until further notice.
We treat all our public water supplies in accordance with New Zealand Drinking Water Standards. We use a multi-barrier approach to treatment, and monitor our supplies to make sure our water is safe to drink.
As part of our work with Regional Public Health, we identified that during prolonged flooding events, there’s a very low risk to the quality of water supplied to Hautere/Te Horo residents. We were in touch with residents on the Hautere/Te Horo water supply about this previously.
The Hautere/Te Horo water supply is unique in Kāpiti because the water comes from bores that are closely connected to the Ōtaki River. The water we take from the bores can take less than a day to travel to the bores from the river. Other bores across the District aren’t as directly linked to rivers so it takes longer for the water to travel through the ground. For example, the water in the Ōtaki public supply bores can take 13 months to travel there, and this natural filtering is a very effective first barrier that filters micro-organisms and turbidity.
While the ground water taken from the Hautere bores is also initially filtered by this natural barrier, there’s still a slight chance micro-organism could get through this first natural barrier. That’s why we have treatment processes that kill anything that could get through and have advising residents about this and what it might mean for them in the future.
We take water from two bores alongside the Ōtaki River for the Hautere/Te Horo public water supply. When the Ōtaki River floods, the water can get so turbid (dirty looking) that we can’t be 100% confident that this treatment plant will kill all the micro-organisms that could be in the water.
All our water supplies are continuously treated with high intensity ultraviolet (UV) light and chlorine to kill any micro-organisms (bacteria, protozoa and viruses) that might be in the water. We monitor these systems continuously and alarms are raised if something isn’t right.
The high-intensity UV light kills all bacteria and protozoa however it’s this process that can have reduced effectiveness during flooding events. The chlorine kills bacteria and viruses, but it doesn’t kill protozoa.
While we can manage this over a short period of time, during prolonged flooding events it’s important that additional measures are available to keep drinking water safe. So as a precaution, when the Ōtaki River is in flood, we might need to advise customers on this supply to temporarily boil their water to ensure it remains safe to drink.
This is a precautionary approach as our testing of the bore water hasn't shown any evidence of protozoa.
Boil all water used for drinking, preparing food, cooking, making up infant formula, handwashing, and cleaning teeth. Boil water even if you can smell chlorine in it. Continue to boil water until advised the water is safe again.
Boil water in a full electric jug until it switches off. Do not hold the switch down to increase the boiling time.
Or bring water to a rolling boil in a clean metal pan (where bubbles appear in the centre and do not disappear when the water is stirred) for one minute.
Then cool the water (don’t use ice cubes to do this) and pour into clean container with a lid and refrigerate until needed.
Pets and livestock can usually drink untreated water and we don’t expect animals to be at risk during a boil water notice.
What should I do if I or my family showed signs of illness during a Boil Water Notice?
If you get diarrhoea, vomiting and/or a fever, get advice from your doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116).
Babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and people who have weakened immune systems are more at risk of illness from drinking potentially contaminated water.
We recommend that you continue to boil your water until the water in the tank has turned over. You’ll need to know the size of your tank and have an understanding of how much water you use on average, to estimate how much longer you should continue to boil your drinking water. Alternatively, you can add additional chlorine (unscented plain bleach) to your tank using Household Water Supplies (MoH) instructions (page 17). It’s recommended that private tanks are inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, with a focus on removing any accumulated sediment. Page 17 in the Household Water Supplies resource has further information on this.
You can’t rely on a water filter to destroy any potential micro-organisms (bacteria, protozoa, and viruses) in the water and so filtered water should also be boiled before use. Water filters should be regularly maintained and replaced as per the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s not expected that filters will require additional maintenance or action beyond the manufacturer’s instructions, following the lifting of a boil water notice.
The Council have plans to improve our water treatment plant processes to remove turbidity. These upgrades are part of a drinking water safety and resilience programme currently planned for 2018–22. Work on the Hautere/Te Horo scheme improvements commenced in June 2021 and are due for completion prior to July 2022.