Drinking water: Schools on town supply
Information, advice and resources to support your school in supplying clean safe water for staff and students.
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Clean, safe water must be provided at schools, especially for drinking. All schools must comply with Clause G12, Building Regulations 1992 – NZ Legislation website(external link). The regulations set out performance-based objectives that require schools to provide safe, potable water and water for sanitary purposes. For the majority of schools, this will be fulfilled by being connected to the local authority water supply.
- Legislation and standards
- Unsafe water and system breakdowns
- Amount of drinking water to provide
- Corrosion metals in drinking water
- Drinking fountains
- Budget for your water supply
- Conserve water
- Water testing
- Further information
The Building Act
The Building Act provides the legal framework for the provision of safe and sanitary buildings.
All schools must comply with Clause G12 – Water Supplies of the Building Regulations 1992.
The regulations set out performance-based objectives that require schools to provide safe, potable water and water for sanitary purposes. For the majority of schools, this will be fulfilled by being connected to the local authority water supply.
The Health and Safety at Work Act
Providing clean water at your school is part of your overall health and safety responsibilities. We recommend you review your school’s health and safety systems.
If water becomes unsafe to drink, you must stop people from drinking it. For example, put up notices saying 'unfit for drinking'.
You then need to take immediate steps to make the water safe. This may mean contacting your local council.
If your entire water supply system breaks down, it becomes a Priority 1 urgent health and safety project, which can be paid for through your 5 Year Agreement (5YA) Funding.
For normal daily use, you must be able to provide at least 23 litres of water per person per day.
You should consider the storage of drinking water in the event of an emergency. For guidance on good practice for water storage and on the amount of water you should store, refer to the Get Thru website.
Some heavy metals get into water through metal pipes corroding. It builds up when water sits in the pipes overnight.
Make sure all drinking taps are run briefly before the start of school. This is usually done by your caretaker.
School users must have easy access to drinking water during learning and breaks. Drinking water provision and fixtures should be evenly distributed near learning and recreation areas. A mixture of indoor and outdoor water supply is expected.
Include water management in your 10 Year Property Plan (10YPP).
Make sure you budget for water infrastructures like backflow preventers, taps and pipes.
Make sure water isn’t being wasted at your school.
- Install water meters so you can set a target to reduce water use.
- Check for leaks and repairing them straight away.
- Install low-flow taps and adjustable spray nozzles.
- Have dual-flush toilets and urinals that run on timers or sensors.
- Collect rainwater and reusing water for the school gardens.
- Educate staff and students on ways to save water.
- Sweep outside areas rather than hosing them.
- Water plants later in the day to reduce water loss.
All state schools are asked annually by the Ministry's agent Argest where they obtain their water from (town supply, self-supply, or other supply).
Depending on your supply, you may have to have your water tested.
If your school is required to have its water supply tested, you must record the results with Argest's secure online service.
If your school is required to test its water supply, but you haven't yet recorded the results online, contact Argest for a password.
Phone: 0800 274 378
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