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Check drinking water safety at your holiday spot

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Let’s be careful this summer as we go to our summer baches, cribs, holiday homes or campsites.

Your water tank could have become contaminated by vermin or from bird droppings and may make you sick.

These are key messages that Water New Zealand, which promotes the sustainable management of NZ’s fresh water, waste water and storm water, want to get across to Kiwis.

Water New Zealand CEO Gillian Blythe says in many holiday spots, residents and holiday makers rely on private bores or rainwater tanks for their water supply.

“In these cases, it is the property owners’ or residents’ own responsibility to ensure the systems are maintained so they’re drinking safe water,” says Gillian.

“If you are not sure, it’s worth taking precautions such as boiling or treating the water before it is consumed.”

Gillian says that even if your water is from council supply, it’s important to remember that many of our rural areas and smaller settlements don’t have the same drinking water quality as most of our bigger cities.”

“An E.coli result or having to issue a boil water notice means that a supply has been contaminated, typically by faecal matter.

“Another way of checking how safe a registered water supply is, is to go on the ESR website to see the latest information on drinking water safety as determined by compliance with the Drinking Water Standards.”

“It makes sense to check rather than have a holiday marred by sickness from drinking contaminated water."

Gillian says the other potential danger is when swimming at the beach or the river.

“It is important to remember that the water may not be safe to swim in for two to three days following a deluge,” says Gillian.

“Heavy rain can cause storm water runoff and sewage overflows, turning swimming spots into E.coli-risk zones.”

If it has been raining heavily, check with your local council or with the LAWA website which has the latest information on water quality at popular swimming sites around the country.

“In the end we want New Zealanders to have a safe, enjoyable and relaxing summer break and a few precautions will help ensure a happy holiday this season.”

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