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Protecting our water supply in the Waimakariri

Wednesday, July 6, 2022   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, safety, management

Waimakariri District Council media release: 4th July 2022

The Council will be contacting some property owners and businesses in the District that are required to upgrade their pipework with backflow preventers to protect the public water supplies.

This upgrade is needed to stop backflow of materials from properties into the water supply potentially causing contamination and a risk to public health. The need to protect public water supplies is a requirement under the Water Services Act. All water suppliers have a legal obligation to ensure their networks are protected from the risk of backflow, which is what is driving the need to have backflow preventers installed.

In addition, the Council intends to apply for chlorine exemptions from Taumata Arowai (New Zealand’s Water Regulator) in September 2022 for its on-demand supplies, and protection from backflow into the supply is a key consideration for the applications.

To mitigate the risk of backflow, Council requires the properties that have been identified as high or medium risk to install backflow preventer devices. Backflow risk assessment is based on the type of activity carried out onsite and can be anything from a mechanic to a home-based hairdressing business. These businesses use chemicals and other possible contaminants that could pose a risk of contaminating the supply and we all have a responsibility to help reduce that risk. The risk classification is based on national guidance documents and similar risk assessments are carried out across the country.

Council wants to work with property owners and businesses to get the devices installed as soon as possible. For businesses classified as high risk, the property owners are required to fund these backflow prevention device installations. The Council offers options to help with installation and financial assistance to pay for costs which will be approximately $3000 per device, although this could vary depending on the size of connection required. Property owners will receive further information about what is required and options available in the next few weeks.

It is vital that these devices are installed by September 2022 to ensure that the requirements of the Water Services Act are met, and our applications for chlorine exemption is robust and provides evidence that we have a safe network.

Find out more about backflow prevention in the Waimakariri Distrct or contact Libby Hurley (libica.hurley[at]