We often take a plentiful supply of clean drinking water for granted. In the future we will depend more on groundwater supplies and they must be protected from contamination. Contaminated groundwater can endanger people’s health and the environment.
Many Waikato rural communities rely on groundwater for their water supply. Community groundwater supplies in the Waikato include:
Contamination of groundwater usually happens gradually and can go unnoticed for some time. Most contaminants come from the ground surface, so shallow water table aquifers with thin soil cover are easily contaminated.
Contamination of groundwater can come from:
Find out more about monitoring groundwater.
It is much easier to prevent groundwater contamination than to try to fix it afterwards. Trying to clean up contaminated drinking water is very costly and often not practical.
By comparison, protecting source water costs very little and is a ‘common sense’ approach to safeguarding public health and the environment.
Community groundwater supplies must be registered with the Ministry of Health and monitored to see if they meet drinking water standards. The drinking water standards for New Zealand list maximum acceptable values for:
Waikato Regional Council uses a range of methods to manage groundwater resources, including:
Supply owners or managers should develop risk management plans to protect groundwater drinking sources. These include:
Communities can protect groundwater supplies by:
Well-head protection areas control certain land uses in the area contributing water (and potentially contaminants) to a groundwater supply. There are a number of methods which can be used to map well-head protection areas and we advise consulting a specialist hydrogeologist.
You can order a copy of our factsheet on protecting community groundwater.
Learn more in our indicators that measure groundwater quality in the Waikato region, including nitrate and pesticide levels.
Check out the national drinking water standards on the Ministry of Health(external link) website (online publications).
For further information call Waikato Regional Council's Freephone 0800 800 401.