Drinking water quality

Canterbury has some of the best drinking water in the world, but no water supply is completely without risk. If you get your drinking water from your own private well, there are some things you should know.

Clean water requires a good balance of nature and scienceWater can be contaminated by pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses, and nitrate, metals and other chemicals. Some contaminants occur naturally, while others come from human activities. If you’re on a reticulated supply, your local council or water supplier will assess those risks and make sure your drinking water is safe. If you have your own well, the responsibility rests with you.

Make sure you know where your well is and that it’s in good condition. It’s also a good idea to know what goes on in the area around your well, so you can identify any potential risks. These might include grazing animals, septic systems or farm effluent disposal sites that can be sources of faecal contamination. Chemicals can be present in the soil and groundwater due to historical activities such as sheep dipping and horticultural spraying.

We strongly recommend that you have your well water tested regularly. Testing can be as easy as turning on the tap, taking a sample and sending it to a laboratory for analysis. Check out our guidelines for testing . We recommend regular testing for pathogens and nitrates and a one-off test for heavy metals and organic chemicals. For more information about drinking water safety, visit Community and Public Health.