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Rural Property – Sales & Rentals

Requirements for residential buildings to supply potable water.

The ongoing reform of New Zealand’s drinking water regulations is having an impact on various industries. As a property owner, property manager or landlord, you must ensure that your water is fit for human consumption and comply with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2022. However, this means it is not lawful to rent, sublet or sell a house without an adequate supply of potable water. There are several things to consider when you have rural properties for sale/rent?


What are the main health issues?

Water can be a carrier for E. coli and giardia, amongst many other bacteria, viruses and protozoa. E.Coli can cause health issues requiring hospitalisation, especially for infants, children, and people with weak immune systems. Giardia, a notifiable disease, is increasingly being found in rainwater tanks in New Zealand. Coliforms include bacteria in water from surface water and human or animal waste. We have worked with many families who have suffered severe health problems due to e. coli in their drinking water. Aqua Works has over 20 years of experience in helping property owners comply with New Zealand Water Standards. Consequently, what are the implications if you have rural properties for sale/ rent?


If you are a landlord or rental property management, the new legal regulations apply to you.

Download the information brochure so that you have everything at a glance. Click on the link below.

rural property rent house tank water

Are you renting a house on tank water?

Landlords in New Zealand must legally provide safe and potable drinking water to their tenants. Potable water means it is safe to drink and complies with the Water Services (Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand) Regulations 2022. These standards cover all water sources, including rainwater, bore water, surface water supply (e.g. creeks or springs) and mains water supply.

What do you need to do to comply with these legal requirements?

rural property selling house tank water

Are you selling a house without potable water?

Are you selling a house and have a rural water supply? Is your property for sale and connected to a rainwater harvesting tank? Did you know that it is illegal in New Zealand to sell a house without a potable water supply?

Basically, if your property does not have a UV filtration system or better, you cannot guarantee that it will have safe and potable water. What do you need to know to meet the legal requirements?

water tank potable water

Legal basis for providing potable water

Currently, most rentals do not comply with the Water Services (Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand) Regulations 2022, which is why tenancy tribunals are now forcing landlords to ensure they do. Also, buildings for sale do not comply with the legal requirements in many cases. What are the legal requirements for potable water when renting, subletting or selling a house?

Safe and potable water for everyone

Aqua Works ensures that your water is safe and potable to drink so that your family and your business clients can trust it. Enjoy pure, healthy and tasty water from any tap in your home or workplace.

Legal Basis For Potable Water

If you have rural properties for sale/rent, you need to comply with the following legal requirements.

Health Act 1956

The legal basis for this particular requirement to have potable water when renting, subletting or selling a house in New Zealand is enshrined in the Health Act 1956 No 65 (as of 09 April 2021). It states in section 39:

(1) It shall not be lawful for any person to erect or rebuild any building intended for use as a dwelling house, or for any person to sell, or let, or sublet, or permit to be occupied as a dwelling house, any building or part of a building, unless in every such case sufficient provision is made in accordance with the building code and the Building Act 2004 for the following matters, that is to say:

(a) an adequate and convenient supply of water that is potable (as defined in section 69G), available for the inmates of the dwelling:

Building Regulations 1992

The Building Code, Section G12.3.1 following states:

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.


Taumata Arowai and the Water Services Act (2021)

Taumata Arowai is the new water service regulator of New Zealand. As part of the review of New Zealand’s drinking water regulations, the new Water Services Act 2021 will come into force in 2021. This act clarifies the definitions of ‘safe’ and ‘potable’ water:

drinking water standards means the standards issued or adopted under section 46 of the Water Services Act 2020 potable water means water that—

(a) is safe to drink; and

(b) complies with the drinking water standards

Renting A House On Tank Water

What are a landlord’s responsibilities?

Under New Zealand law, landlords are obliged to provide potable water free from contaminants such as E. coli, Giardia or campylobacter bacteria. These bacteria, germs and viruses pose a serious health risk, especially to people with weak immune systems, young children, pregnant women and the elderly. This means your tank/rainwater must meet NZ Drinking Water Standards on an ongoing basis.

At the same time, drinking-water suppliers are obliged to monitor total coliforms. This is the primary indicator that the drinking-water supply may be contaminated with pathogens. Currently, most rentals do not comply with the Water Services  (Drinking Water Standards of New Zealand) Regulations 2022, which is why tenancy tribunals are now forcing landlords to ensure they do.

Non-compliance costs

In the case where water supplied is not deemed potable due to having failed an E. coli test, the tenancy tribunal had ruled that tenants’ rent maybe be backdated to when they moved in. For many New Zealand rural homes, a rain harvesting system is their primary water source. For years, the Kiwi attitude was that rainwater was safe, blaming any illness on food. However, our water tests show that an alarming number of rainwater tanks do not comply with the Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand 2005 (revised 2018).

Landlords need to know and understand their obligations, while tenants need to be clear on their rights relating to their water supply.

Aqua Works Offer Permanent Solutions For The Supply Of Potable Water

Implications for Landlords

Landlords have to provide a permanent solution to ensure drinking water is potable. As defined in the Water Services Act 2021, drinking water is used for “oral hygiene or preparing food and drink, washing utensils that are used for eating and drinking, or for preparing, serving, or storing food or drink for human consumption.” Thus, landlords need to install a treatment method on the water supply line to eliminate the risks of E. coli and Giardia, amongst other bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Aqua Works offers various water treatment applications to ensure potable water permanently.

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 3-year warranty, the highest in New Zealand.

We will visit your property, determine what is required for compliance of potable water delivery and recommend a system that guarantees safe water, all year round.

u v water filters nz

Aqua Works Guarantee* E. coli free drinking water

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.

Minimum solution for potable water delivery

Technically, this can be met by only sterilising the main kitchen tap. At Aqua Works, we custom design and install under-bench UV systems for the treatment of cold water. If this is the solution you choose, you must, by law, label all other taps in the house as being non-potable.

The most effective solution for potable water

The best solution for both landlords and tenants is to ensure all water, hot and cold, is safe to drink by installing a UV filter for the entire house: the safest, most comprehensive answer.

Aqua Works, safe water experts for landlords requirements

If you have rural properties for sale/rent and you are on tank water, Aqua Works has the right solutions for you. We have over 20 years of experience helping property owners comply with New Zealand Water Standards. UV filter systems require annual servicing and our thorough recordkeeping and automated scheduling ensure their regular inspection and maintenance, making everyone’s life safer and easier.

We can help you with…

    • Free onsite consultation / evaluation / quoting
    • Installing water filtration systems that meet the Building Code
    • Servicing all filtration systems, especially UV filtration systems, to meet legal standards
    • Water pump call-out service, water pump repairs and water pump installations
    • In house certified plumbers & electricians, including maintenance, hot water cylinder replacements, rain harvesting & water tanks

Reduce the risk of contaminated water

If you have rural properties for sale/rent, you must have a permanent solution to provide potable water. Aqua Works has the knowledge and the expertise to help you complying with the legal requirements.

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.