Collection of rain water for drinking and household use is common in the Kaipara, especially in more rural settings. However it is important that your water collection point—usually a roof—and your water tank are carefully maintained to avoid contamination. Possible source of contamination could include animal faeces entering the source of supply, lead flashings and lead-based paint products causing elevated lead levels in collected water, agrichemical spray drifts landing on roof and flushed into tanks with first rains, and the decomposition of leaves—all of which can cause taste or odour issues.
Tips for roof water and tanks
- Install a first-flush diverter. This is a device that flushes to waste the first 50–150 litres of water depending on your roof area. The first runoff usually contains the majority of contaminants, especially after long dry spells.
- Use plastic pipes
- Avoid planting trees beside the house
- The storage tank should be covered to prevent further contamination from animals and birds, and to minimise evaporation losses
- A two-tank system is better than one large tank, as the first tank can be used primarily as a settling tank with the second tank being the draw off.
- Clean and disinfect the system every 6-12 months including the guttering.
There are a number of companies around the district that offer water testing if you suspect your tank water may be contaminated. Most tank suppliers also stock water testing kits.
What if my water tank runs out of water?
If you run out of water, there are bulk water carriers registered to use a Council filling point and deliver drinking water in your area. This is not a Council service and we do not take any responsibility for the quality of water once it leaves the filling station point. We recommend that you ask your carrier for written confirmation that they have sourced the water from the council’s supply and that it meets Ministry of Health standards or you can find a list of local suppliers here - https://www.drinkingwater.esr.cri.nz/carriers/carriersfornzregion.asp?NZRegion=NZNZ01
During periods of low rainfall, people on tank water should do their bit to save water. Refills are coming from the Council’s community supply and it is in everyone’s interest to save water and prolong the supply.