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Published 23/03/2020

Drinking water and wastewater services remain safe

Key things to know

  • Expert advice is that the Covid-19 virus is not spread through drinking water, and that our normal treatment and disinfection processes (chlorination) will keep drinking water safe. Read more about this on WaterNZ's website.
  • Please be assured that normal drinking and wastewater services will continue because there are strong contingency plans in place to ensure business continuity while managing risks to the people who deliver these services.
  • Customers should still continue to call in to the contact centre about water issues so they can be logged, but because it is necessary at this time to prioritise urgent work this will mean repair times for non-essential work are likely to be longer.

Practising ‘social distancing’ is a key element of managing these risks. For example, our two-person service crews are not meeting at depots but going straight to work in the field from their homes, and connecting virtually instead. 

We are also under way with plans to put in place additional back-up operational resources, so that we have duplicate teams that can step in for those people operating these essential services if need be. This includes providing training for current and former staff, and members of our supply chain.

We are also prioritising our repairs, with a focus on urgent work. Our customer response teams will be focused on network faults that directly affect customers’ drinking water supply and wastewater services. All other work will be addressed as we are able, given the re-prioritisation that is in place.

The global response to Covid-19 may have an impact on some of our planned work as well, including delaying materials and chemicals. For example, the delivery of the material for the Mt Albert sludge pipes tunnel is currently delayed because of production delays in Germany where it is being made.  

The criticality of continued supply of the chemicals needed for water treatment means this is an issue that is being worked through on a national basis; suppliers are confident at this stage that there will be adequate supplies.

Our services rely on electricity (e.g. to power water pumps), so we are working closely with Wellington Electricity to ensure that we are prioritised in their planning as well.

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