Indicators at a glance: Drinking-water quality

This section summarises the latest Environmental Health Indicators about drinking-water quality and health in New Zealand.

Summary

Water contaminated with pathogens may cause disease, particularly gastrointestinal diseases. 

Drinking-water supplies can be treated to remove pathogens and make the water safe to drink. The number of people on drinking-water supplies meeting the Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand is monitored annually.

Fluoride can also be added to water to help prevent tooth decay. In particular, children’s oral health can benefit from access to fluoridated water.

Indicator Key findings
Access to safe drinking-water
  • Most New Zealanders have access to safe drinking-water.
  • Among the 3.8 million New Zealanders on registered community supplies, most had access to bacteriologically compliant (97%) and protozoally compliant (80%) drinking-water in 2014-15.
Water-borne diseases related to drinking-water
  • There were over 8600 cases of campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis notified in 2014.
  • Untreated water was a risk factor for 830 notifications of campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis in 2014.
Access to fluoridated water
  • One in two New Zealanders (50%) had access to fluoridated drinking-water in 2014-15 – about 2.3 million people.
  • Access to fluoridated water is mainly concentrated in cities.
Oral health of children
  • Children in fluoridated areas generally have better oral health than children in non-fluoridated areas.
  • In 2014, more 5-year-olds and children in Year 8 were caries-free compared to 2000.