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Staying healthy in drought conditions

Staying healthy in drought conditionsReproduced courtesy of Wikipedia Commons.

From time to time, the Auckland region experiences a hot, dry summer. Those on roof / tankered water may need to take measures to conserve water.  Those on Waiheke – with the lowest rainfall in the Auckland region, and no piped supply -should definitely think ahead.

Although it is important to save water, it is also most important to use water to stay healthy.

It is very important to use safe water for:
• Hand washing with soap and water. Soap, water and thorough drying are best. Hand sanitisers can also be useful if the skin is already visibly clean.
• Washing fruit and vegetables, and while preparing food.
• Making infant formula.

Water used for drinking, brushing teeth, hand-washing and preparing food should be boiled first if it is not from a reliable drinking water source.

Hand washing is important

Safe water supplies

Safe drinking water
Use safe drinking water supplies for personal hygiene. If you have any questions about your drinking water supply, you can contact Auckland Regional Public Health Service, 09 623 4600.

Rain tank water supplies

Auckland Regional Public Health Service advises people whose tanks are empty to have them refilled using registered tankered water carriers. The public can access the list of registered water carriers via the ESR Drinking-water for New Zealand website. Registered tankered water carriers will be working hard during a drought trying to meet demand, so you may need to try more than one supplier. You should also think about your water needs in advance, and not leave it too late to place an order, or you may find your tank runs dry before it can be filled. Allowing a pump to run dry may cause damage.

Delivery of water by tanker will disturb the sediment lying in the bottom of the tank. Therefore, allow the water to settle and clear before using it for drinking, hand washing or cooking.

For more information about drinking water from tank water, bores and wells, please see the fact sheets at the bottom of the page.

Water that is not suitable for drinking

Water supplies that are not suitable for drinking can be used for other things such as washing cars, watering plants, washing clothes and pouring into the toilet to flush.

Hot weather and health

Hot weather advice includes:
• Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
• Avoid being outside or exposed to the sun in the hottest part of the day.
• Wear light‐coloured, loose fitting clothing.
• Park your car in a shady spot and never leave children or pets in a car unattended.
• Limit drinks containing alcoholor caffeine.
• Avoiding strenuous activities during hot weather.
• Check on vulnerable people (especially the elderly, the unwell and children) and pets.

For questions or concerns about public health and drought, please contact Auckland Regional Public health Service, 09 623 4600.

Useful links

ARPHS public health advice
• ARPHS Hot weather and health
• ARPHS hand washing information
• ARPHS Drinking water information

Auckland Council drought information
• Drought information (Included with permission from Auckland Council).
• Rural support trusts and Auckland wards

Links to other organisations
• ESR drinking water advice
• Civil Defence and Emergency Management


Water supply in droughts information
• Waiheke Island – sourcing and conserving water. (Included with permission from Auckland Council)
• Saving water during water shortages while saying healthy
• Household water supplies
• Water collection tanks and safe household water.
• Secure groundwater bores and wells for safe household water.

Roof collected water technical summary
Roof collected water Technical Summary

Hand washing
• Hand Hygiene fact sheet
 High Five for Clean Hands (Ministry of Health Advice)
• High Five for Clean Hands (Te Reo Maori)

Hot weather information
• Hot weather and health general information
• Hot weather and health information for rest homes
• ARPHS Media release - 30 January 2013. Beware of health risks in hot weather.

Hot weather and health information for health professionals
• Information for Health Professionals on those Patients who may be at increased risk from Hot Weather
• Heat waves in Auckland. Public Health Quarterly – January 2013.
• Hot weather information for health professionals. 30 January 2013.

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