Boil Water Notices

The duration of a "boil water" advisory usually depends on the situation and the reasons for issuing the advisory. Always follow the guidance of, and the instructions provided by, your local Council or Public Health Unit.

Where can I find information if a boil water notice is issued?

The Council will post information and updates on their website ( and Facebook page (

Council will also send updates to local radio stations, newspapers and other media contacts to get information to the public as quickly as possible.

Depending on the situation, Council may also carry out a letterbox drop in the affected township.

Frequently asked questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about boil water notices and what to do if you are affected. You can also download the Boil Water Advisory Fact Sheet that has been produced by MidCentral Health.

I have already drank the water. Will I get sick?

The majority of people who drink this water will not get sick. The at risk groups are babies, young children, the elderly and people who have compromised immune systems. Please contact Healthline (0800 611 116) if you are concerned, or your doctor if you experience diarrhoea, vomiting and/or fever..

How do I use water when a boil water advisory has been issued?

The water (hot* and cold) must NOT be used for drinking, making up baby formula and juices, cooking, making ice, washing fruits and vegetables, or brushing teeth. For these purposes, use either boiled water or bottled water.

* hot water from your tap is not safe to use during a boil water advisory as the temperature of your hot water cylinder is not high enough to kill germs.

How do I boil the water ?

Boiling will kill all disease-causing organisms. Place the water in a clean metal pan and bring to a rolling boil for one minute.

Electric jugs with a cut-off switch can be used (as long as they are full), allow the water to come to the boil and switch off - do not hold the switch down to increase the boiling time.

Boiled water should be covered and allowed to cool in the same container. The taste will improve if allowed to stand for a few hours before use.

Can I take a bath or shower?

Adults, teens and older children may shower or bathe with untreated water as long as no water is swallowed (avoid the face). Young children should be sponge-bathed instead of bathing in a tub because they are more likely to swallow the bath water.

If you have recent surgical wounds or a chronic illness, you may want to use bottled or boiled water for bathing until the advisory is lifted.

What about teeth brushing and shaving?

It is advised that you use boiled or bottled water for brushing your teeth. You can shave as usual using tap water.

Can I use the water for handwashing?

If the boil water advisory has been issued as a precaution and there is no outbreak of human illness, vigorous handwashing using tap water and soap is sufficient.

If the boil water advisory has been issued because of an outbreak, you should either:

  • Use bottled or boiled water for handwashing
  • Use soap and tap water followed by additional hand disinfection, by either:
    • rinsing hands in disinfectant solution*
    • using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol
  • Wet wipes used for cleaning babies are not effective for disinfecting hands

* add 1 teaspoon plain household bleach to 10 litres of water and allow to stand for 30 minutes before use - change solution frequently.

How do I prepare food and drinks?

Fruits and vegetables should be washed using cooled, boiled water. Use boiled water if adding to foods that will not be cooked for example, salad items. Tap water should only be used in foods that subsequently receive thorough cooking.

It is advised that you do not use ice, food or drinks that may have been made from contaminated tap water.

What should I do about feeding my baby?

If breastfeeding, continue as usual. If you are using baby formula, prepare using bottled or cooled, boiled water. Wash and sterilise bottles and teats by boiling or microwaving.\