One in five New Zealanders are drinking unsafe or unregistered water, a Ministry of Health survey shows.
Twenty per cent of Kiwis or about 849,000 people were supplied with water that either failed to meet bacteriological standards or had not been classified because sources were unregistered, The Press reported. That was an increase from 712,000 people during the previous 2007-08 period.

Water supplies were also deteriorating with unacceptable levels of E. coli in water supplied to 93,000 people, the survey, covering July 2008-June 2009, found.

In addition, 118 - or 20 per cent - of 597 school and early childhood centres surveyed met safe drinking water standards.

While many schools had installed ultraviolet (UV) treatment to operate with filtration devices, a greater dose of UV was required to kill some viruses and protozoan parasites.

Five of 12 hospitals and health services failed to meet quality standards, the report said, while there were 33 outbreaks of water-borne illnesses, twice that of the previous period overall.

- NZPA reported in New Zealand Herald