Water quality is another important environmental health issue in New Zealand. Water (including ground, surface and recreational water) can become contaminated with toxins, excessive nutrients, and human and animal wastes. Contamination of drinking-water and recreational water can lead to health problems, including gastrointestinal (enteric) diseases.
In 2006/07, 80% of the population had access to drinking-water that was bacteriologically (E. coli) compliant, although this indicates that one in five people (20%) did not.
In 2006/07, 75% of the population had access to drinking-water that was protozoally (Cryptosporidium)compliant; this indicates that one in four people (25%) did not.
Eight percent of the population were not served by a registered reticulated drinking-water supply in 2006/07.
In the 2006/07 bathing season, 80% of all monitored recreational marine beaches were suitable for swimming ‘almost all of the time’, compared with 65.2% in 2003/04; and 59.6% of all monitored freshwater beaches were suitable for swimming ‘almost all the time’, compared with 40.5% in 2003/04.
From 2001 to 2007, there were decreases in the rates of campylobacteriosis, cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis associated with a risk factor of either drinking untreated water or having contact with recreational water at a marine or freshwater beach.