URGENT MEDIA RELEASE: All drinking water must be boiled in Martinborough until further notice

7.35pm, 1 February 2019

South Wairarapa District Council (SWDC) advises that all drinking water in Martinborough must be boiled before being used for drinking, making up formula, juices and ice, washing fruits and vegetables, other cooking needs, or brushing teeth.

Low level contamination of E. coli bacteria has been detected in the water supplying Martinborough township. To date, no illness has been reported associated with this event.

Boiling water before use is the best way to make water safe. While adding bleach to water can also make it safe to drink, Martinborough water is sourced from the ground and has minerals in it that turn the water to a blue/black colour when bleach is added. While not hazardous, blue/black water is not aesthetically pleasing.

Bottled water is another alternative, or you may have some water stored for emergencies.

An alternative source of safe water can be found at the corner of Texas Street and the Square, from 6am tomorrow. There will be a 20,000 litre tanker and this will be replaced with more water supplies throughout the weekend as required.

SWDC’s Group Manager Infrastructure and Services Mark Allingham says, “We’re taking every precaution necessary to protect Martinborough residents and visitors from potential ill health, particularly given that it’s the Marthinborough Fair on Saturday.

“We have letter-dropped and sent emails to residents, and food and drink venues in the town, worked with media, used social media channels and issued an Emergency Management Alert to Martinborough residents.”

“Martinborough Fair organisers have been very cooperative by informing vendors of the situation and where they can access alternative water supplies.

“With hot weather it is important to keep hydrated.  Please check on your neighbours, friends and family to make sure they have a good supply of safe water,” says Mr Allingham

The risk of getting sick from drinking the water is low but possible, especially for vulnerable people. Babies, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people who have weakened immune systems are more at risk of illness. If you get diarrhoea, vomiting and/or a fever, get advice from your doctor or contact Healthline (0800 611 116).

This boil water advisory is in effect from 3pm on Friday 1 February 2019 until further notice, while we await the results of further tests.

Please continue to boil all water until SWDC advises that the boil water advisory is lifted.

Next update: 10am Monday 4 February, or earlier if required.

How to boil water for drinking:

  • Boiling will kill all disease-causing organisms.
  • Bring water to a rolling boil (where bubbles appear in the centre and do not disappear when the water is stirred) for one minute or boil a full electric jug until it switches off
  • Cool water (do not use ice cubes to do this) and pour into clean container with a lid
  • Refrigerate until needed.

For more information, contact SWDC on 06 30 69611 at or go to swdc.testserver.co.nz, where you will find more FAQs.


Media contact:

Amy Wharram, Communications Manager 027 252 2863

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