Taupō District Council’s water supply system includes 18 water treatment plants, 62 storage reservoirs and over 570 km of pipes, and our drinking water comes from a mixture of lake, river, spring and groundwater sources. Due to this mix of sources, the way in which we treat our water depends on where it comes from and what the quality of that water is before treatment.
All our water is constantly monitored and tested to ensure it meets the Ministry of Health’s Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand. We have a dedicated team who run regular checks to monitor a wide range of factors, at different frequencies and over many locations to make sure our water is perfectly safe for our community.
These checks include testing the source water quality, before treatment commences, then during the treatment process, to check our treatment processes are working correctly, and then a further check is carried out directly following treatment, before it’s pumped to any customers. And last but by no means least we check the quality of water in our network, where it reaches our consumers.
Our monitoring programmes are comprehensive – we collect and analyse a large volume of data. Some water quality parameters are monitored automatically and continuously at one minute intervals, so we can detect a water contamination event immediately. If, for whatever reason, something’s not quite right, we’ll know about it immediately as our operations team will receive an alert, and if necessary we’ll shut down a treatment plant to investigate and notify affected communities immediately.
Other water quality parameters are monitored in manually collected samples, which are tested at the sample collection point or in a laboratory, and we have 142 designated compliance monitoring points spread around the Taupō district so we are confident we get a good picture of water quality throughout our rohe.
What’s in our water?
A typical analysis of the chemical makeup of Taupō district water, prior to temporary chlorination, can be found in the table below. It is worth noting that some compounds like arsenic are naturally occurring chemical elements present at low levels in all soil, water, plants, animals and foods, and while levels in the central plateau region are elevated due to our geothermal geology, our water is still safe. We also have a substantial programme in place to improve water treatment across our district which will remove any elements such as arsenic if present.
For more information, take a look at this document which includes a flow chart outlining the treatment process in the Taupō Water Treatment Plant:
Drinking Water Standard Limit
0.008 to 0.012*
Fluoride with treatment
5 to 30
20 to 50
* Typical background level of arsenic in water supplies that draw from Lake Taupō
N/A: there is no current New Zealand Standard.