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Pastoral Dairy Farms

The risk of water contamination on a dairy farm

Most dairy farms in New Zealand are on rural water supply. Local water sources are usually either a borehole, well or spring. Additionally, cowsheds can also receive their water from a rainwater harvesting system or surface water. However, raw water can be a carrier for bacteria, viruses and parasites. If the farm dairy water is contaminated with E. coli, Giardia, or other harmful contaminants, the water supply poses a risk to the food production business. Another hazard on a dairy farm can be the water supply to the staff’s houses connected to the reticulated water supply. Thus, the obtained water provided for the workers’ houses must be potable and comply with the Water Services (Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand) Regulations 2022. Therefore, you may treat your dairy farm water professionally to make it fit for human consumption and provide potable water to your business, family and staff.


Water Exclusion by Fonterra

New Zealand’s farmers who contract with Fonterra need to be vigilant about their cow shed water quality. Every Fonterra milk supplier must provide clean Farm Dairy Water (E.Coli free water) for all applications where raw water is possibly coming into contact with the milk. If the farm dairy water is untreated, it usually does not meet Fonterra’s standards. In this case, the farm receives a water exclusion status. Although the water exclusion is temporary, it requires the dairy shed to take immediate action. Fonterra, therefore, encourages its dairy farmers to identify the exact nature of the water problem in their cowsheds. Then, the farmer should determine the cause of the water problem and look for ways to solve the water issues in the long term. The team at Aqua Works knows how to fix it and get your farm water-compliant status with Fonterra’s standards.


Did you get a red water exclusion sticker from Fonterra?

Don’t waste your money on extra water tests! If your dairy farm has a temporary water exclusion through Fonterra, you must have your water tested monthly. The cost of this will be deducted from your milk cheques. Over a more extended period, that adds up to quite a bit. Plus, there is a risk that the cost of regular water testing may increase in the future. Unfortunately, this is out of your hands. As long as the water quality of your business does not comply with Fonterra’s standard, you will face being penalised. What you do have in your hand is the option to find a suitable solution as quickly as possible. Thus, call our expert team today and find out what we can do to take that burden off you. With our simple but effective water treatment solutions, we guarantee you will get your water-compliant status.

Get rid of your Water Exclusion Status

Water contamination with E. coli causes failed water tests and can lead to water exclusion. Giardia is increasingly found in rainwater tanks and surface water such as creeks and dams and poses a risk to your water supply. Our experts will come on-site and will recommend the most suitable water treatment solution for your dairy farm.

Farm dairy water

water exclusion frontera sticker

Are you on water exclusion?

Have you received a FARM DAIRY WATER – WATER EXCLUSION sticker from Fonterra? As a result, your water does not meet New Zealand’s Food Safety approved criteria. You are now asked to improve your water according to their required standards. Depending on the water quality and the amount of water you will manage on your farm, several water treatment options are available to meet your requirements.

Find out what are the requirements of Fonterra  and your implications.

farm potable water buildings

Providing safe, potable drinking water for your staff homes

As a pastoral dairy farm, you are considered a private drinking water supplier under New Zealand law if you have a reticulated water supply. With the commencement of the Water Services Act 2021, new legal requirements and regulations like the Drinking Water Standards of New Zealand could apply to your staff houses.

Find out more about the new legislation and the impact on your dairy farm.

agricultural water treatment

Agricultural water treatment for the WHOLE farm

Many farmers are unaware of the hidden threat of contamination in their reticulated water supply that can severely affect water quality. Sustainable and long-term solutions for the whole dairy farm can improve the health of the livestock. Consequently, milk production will increase and positively impact the sales figures. At the same time, you will earn the water-compliant status with Fonterra.

The team at Aqua Works will help you to find the best suitable options.

Safe and potable water for your WHOLE farm

Aqua Works can ensure that your water is safe and potable to drink from every tap on the entire farm. Consequently, your business partners, staff and family can trust and enjoy it. Ultimately, your livestock will show appreciation with a higher milk outcome. Talk to us about water treatment solutions.

Farm Dairy Water – Water Exclusion

What is Fonterra asking for?

Fonterra’s milking plant and vat cleaning standards require clean water, free of bacteria, pathogens, or other contaminants. Therefore, clean water for rinsing and wash downs in the cowshed is imperative. The cow shed water is tested for bacteria like E. coli, colour and turbidity (clarity/sediment). The limits for water that comes into contact with milk must have less than 1 E.coli per 100 ml and less than 5NTU turbidity.

Dairy farms that do not comply with Fonterra’s standards for Farm Dairy Water are given temporary water exclusion status. This red sticker demands the improvement of the water quality in the milking sheds. In the meantime, mandatory management plans are in place to ensure that raw water does not come into contact with milk. Although the water exclusion does not superficially pose a risk to milk quality, it creates more costs for regular testing.

Dairy Shed Standards of Fonterra

In a dairy, maintaining a hygienic process environment is essential to ensure the high quality and purity of the milk. A clean-in-place (CIP) system plays a significant role in the whole process. It keeps all components free of bacteria and other harmful impurities. However, if your farm has received a water exclusion sticker, you cannot use raw water to rinse your equipment after CIP.

Once your raw water does not meet Fonterra’s standards, take immediate action. Under no circumstances should this water come into contact with milk intended for distribution. Specifically, this means that you cannot use it for any purpose where there is a risk of contamination with raw water. It also applies to flushing the equipment at the beginning or end of milking. If you are on water exclusion, you also can’t use the raw water to purge the milk from the plant into the vat.

Make sure to comply with Fonterra Farm Dairy Water Standards

Aqua Works has the knowledge and experience needed to help your dairy farm achieve the standards required by Fonterra. We look after your milking shed water tank and your whole water supply system. Our product solutions provide safe dairy farm water. Make an appointment with our experts.

Providing potable water for your staff accommodation & common rooms

Providing potable water

Most farms in New Zealand have their own water supply on-site. The farm obtains its raw water from a borehole, spring or wells in most cases. However, catching drinking water via a rain harvesting system or surface water (creek, river or dam) is also widespread.

If the water supply is not only used for irrigation and feeding livestock but also to provide drinking water for employees, special regulations apply. If the water obtained from the own water source is also to be used as drinking water for staff housing, lunchrooms, and shared spaces, the farm is considered a small drinking water supplier. This means that it is subject to the Water Services Act 2021 and has to comply with the Drinking Water Standards of New Zealand 2022

dairy farm potable water staff rooms
What does that mean for your farm?

If the dairy farm is on groundwater or surface water supply, in our experience, the raw water does not comply with the Drinking Water Standards of NZ. If your dairy farm is considered a small water supplier, you must ensure that the water offered to your staff is clean and safe to drink. Therefore, it is your responsibility to regulate the water quality to provide potable water. This means you need to take all practical measures to ensure that the water is fit for human consumption and the water supply is protected from any contamination.

If the water supply of the staff’s houses is connected to the reticulated water supply of the entire farm, contamination is most likely. Aqua Works offers simple but smart water treatment solutions to provide potable water.

The following excerpts from the law are the basis for the provision of clean drinking water on farms.


Water Services Act (2021)

The Water Services Act 2021 applies to all commercial businesses, such as dairy sheds, cattle farms, sheep flocks or chicken farms that provide drinking water for their staff. This new act clarifies the definitions of ‘safe’ and ‘potable’ water, which means it is safe to drink and complies with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand. It also defines the meaning of drinking water supplier, drinking water supply and domestic self-supply and domestic dwelling.


Drinking-water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2018)

If the farm obtains the drinking water from its own water source (groundwater or rainwater), consequently, it need to comply with Section 10 of the Drinking Water StandardsThe four most essential points of this section are:

    1. Professional drinking water treatment
    2. Establishing a water safety plan
    3. Regular monitoring of the water quality
    4. Maintaining the water quality

Aqua Works is your competent partner for safe drinking water for rural application on dairy farms. We have a wealth of knowledge and experience in drinking-water safety in New Zealand. Our commercial water treatment solutions, water purification and UV filter systems help you comply with NZ Drinking Water Standards.


Taumata Arowai – Water Service Regulator

As part of New Zealand’s drinking water reform programme, Taumata Arowai is the new water service regulator of New Zealand. In this role, the regulatory body will ensure safe drinking water for everyone in Aotearoa. From November 2021, a pastoral (dairy) farm considered a drinking water supplier must register with Taumata Arowai. Aqua Works has the necessary knowledge in rain harvesting and bore water treatment to guide you professionally through the whole process. Firstly, our team helps you with the registering process. Secondly, we will run a water safety plan with you and offer guidance throughout the whole process.


Building Regulations 1992

The Building Code, Section G12.3.1 highlights that the water source must be protected from any contamination to be potable. It states the following:

G12.3.1 Water intended for human consumption, food preparation, utensil washing, or oral hygiene must be potable.

G12.3.2  A potable water supply system must be—

(a) protected from contamination; and

(b) installed in a manner that avoids the likelihood of contamination within the system and the water main; and

(c) installed using components that will not contaminate the water.

G12.3.3 A non-potable water supply system used for personal hygiene must be installed in a manner that avoids the likelihood of illness or injury being caused by the system.

G12.3.4 Water pipes and outlets provided with non-potable water must be clearly identified.


Aqua Works helps to meet your legal obligations

At Aqua Works, our experienced team will support your pastoral dairy farm to comply with New Zealand’s legislation. Our goal is to be your long-term partner and ensure that your partners and staff can rely on your water 364 days per year.

Long-term solutions for potable water for your whole dairy farm

The hidden threat in milking shed water tanks

Many farmers do not think about emptying and cleaning milking shed water tanks. Here lurk some hazards that significantly affect the water quality on the dairy farm. Typically, the farm receives water from a borehole, spring or river, and rain water are familiar water sources too. The water is pumped to the milking shed water tank and then enters the cow shed via pipes. Or it is pumped directly from the bore into the shed.

However, over time, dirt, germs and algae can build up in the water tank. The so-called biofilm can develop, which serves as a breeding ground for various microorganisms. In stagnant water, algae, germs, bacteria such as E Coli and also lime deposits can grow, which considerably impair the water quality and may even be harmful to health.

water tank ecoli
e coli milk shed water dank

Water disinfection with a pool chlorine tablet

The solution to improve the cow shed water quality is not to throw a pool chlorine tablet into the milk water tank. This method will not control the discharge chlorine quantity. Instead, it creates the risk that the water used for rinsing and wash downs will leave residues in the milk. Additionally, a pool chlorine tablet is not an approved chemical, putting the whole milk supply chain at risk. Even the smallest doses of chlorine can lead to contamination and affect the quality of the milk. 

Consequently, this “crude method” of disinfecting the milk shed water does not solve the water quality issues on the farm. Even though the sticker confirms temporary water exclusion, farmers need to take their water quality issues  seriously. It is their responsibility to take action and look for solutions.

Agricultural water treatment

Fonterra’s standards for Dairy Farm Water emphasise the requirements for the production of high-quality milk. The co-operative dairy company’s proactive efforts to maintain high milk quality meet the Ministry of Primary Industries standards in this area. Therefore, when looking for the most appropriate water treatment method for the dairy farm, care must be taken to avoid any residues in the milk.

Our service technicians consider the water source and the integrity of the water system throughout the farm. We review all possibilities where water can become contaminated, starting with the water source, storage, and water piping system. We will recommend the best agricultural water treatment technology for your milk shed tank water based on our assessment.

dairy farm tank water solution
dairy farm water Fonterra

Sustainable, long-term solution for the WHOLE farm

We offer cost-effective products that have a long-term impact on your entire business. By treating all of your water, the health of your livestock will improve. Consequently, your milk production will increase and positively impact your sales figures. Our experience with dairy farms providing safe water with Aqua Works water treatment solutions shows that cows can drink up to 25% more water. Consequently, milk production can rise by up to 25%.

Water treatment for an entire farm is a perfect solution. When your livestock has access to clean drinking water, they drink more. It leads to eating better and gaining weight faster. Thus, you increase your milk production without increasing the number of animals. In addition, maintenance costs are often lower. Pipes clog less, and equipment like water heaters last longer and need cleaning less often.

Agricultural water treatment with smart solutions from Aqua Work

Our team helps you to provide safe and potable water for all application on your cow shed. This way, we ensure that your family, your staff and your business partner can trust it.

Aqua Works offers effective solutions to meet Fonterra’s Standards and your legal obligations

Safe dairy farm water

Are you looking for a water treatment solution to comply with Fonterra standards? Aqua Works can answer this question with smart, high-performance products. We offer dairy farm water treatment technologies for all common water sources. Whether you obtain your water from a borehole, well, spring or surface water, we have simple and effective solutions for it. This way, we ensure you have safe farm dairy water in your cowshed. At the same time, your business will meet your legal compliance and Fonterra’s standards.


Customised water treatment solutions for dairy farms & cow sheds

First and foremost, our service team will come to your farm and perform a water test. Every water source has its own challenges. We will evaluate your water test thoroughly. Based on the test results, we see where the problems are and what needs to be done. Aqua Works will design a water treatment system customised to your individual water quality and your personal usage needs. According to our guiding principle, there is no “one size fits all”. Therefore, you can be assured to get the best solution for your farm. Aqua Works will guarantee reliable and long-term best water quality and optimal milk output with your individual dairy farm water treatment solution.

Aqua Works – your expert for professional water treatment

Several technologies guarantee safe potable water:

The most cost-effective guarantee of safe potable water is an ultraviolet system that includes sediment filters. A UV water filter kills 99.99% of all microorganisms, such as algae, protozoa, bacteria and viruses. As we only install quality UV systems, we source our filtration systems from Canada and Italy. All come with a commercial 2-year warranty, the highest in NZ.

Aqua Works Guarantee* – E. coli free drinking water

that meets New Zealand Drinking Water Standards and all legal requirements. We guarantee E. coli free water year on year as long as we are servicing the UV system. Our annual service reminder will help keep you on the safe side and be up-to-date with the legal requirements.

dairy shed water by Fonterra

Meet Fonterra Standards’s Dairy Farm Water

At Aqua Works, we have the knowledge and the long-term experience to work with our local farmers on this issue. Our team will assist farmers in developing and implementing solutions to meet Fonterra’s imposed requirements. Consequently, we will guarantee that the water exclusion will end as soon as possible, and you can get back to your everyday business. Our agricultural water solutions include various water treatment and filtration technologies. They are quick and straightforward to install.


Providing safe & potable dairy farm water

From now on, you don’t have to rack your brain about which water to use for which application. We guarantee that all your dairy farm water in your entire business will be treated to the standard you require. Therefore, Fonterra compliance is a breeze for your farm.

Water is the elixir of life and our passion

Exceptional support for our business customers

Aqua Works has over 20 years of experience as a local expert in commercial water treatment for many industries. We offer water solutions supporting you to meet your individual needs and legal requirements. The modularity of our product range helps you to optimise investment costs. 

At the same time, it ensures the best purification of your water. We deliver customised water treatment solutions to keep your water safe wherever you need it in your business. Aqua Work’s water filtration systems, UV filter purification, water treatment, ozone systems, and water pumps combine sustainability, high performance and cost-efficiency. 

With years of experience and expert advice, our passionate team is here to help you every step of the way to clean and potable drinking water. Our maintenance service guarantees the continuous, reliable operation of the products used. Therefore, we recommend regular maintenance of all water treatment systems to detect possible malfunctions early.

Simultaneously, we eliminate the triggers and avoid costly replacements. And if something should happen spontaneously, call our 24/7 water pump emergency service. We will take care of your problem immediately and make sure that the water in your business is running again as quickly as possible.

At Aqua Works, we go the extra mile to ensure your water is healthy and fit for its purpose. Hence, all our water treatment products are field tried-and-tested, including our new innovative products and solutions. Want to experience our excellent UV filters, water filtration systems and water pumps or our high-quality UV filter service, water pump repairs or water pump service? Give us a call today at 0800 AQUA WORKS.