If you are organising an event for more than 24 people, and intend to offer drinking water that is not commercially bottled, you need to seek permission from the Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service.

You may also be responsible for other suppliers of drinking water at the event.

If the drinking water is not approved (or you have not allowed sufficient time for the approval process) you will have to find an alternative source of approved drinking-water or postpone the event. This may also affect any required alcohol licences because free drinking water is a legal requirement when alcohol is provided at an event.


How to seek permission

  1. contact the Drinking Water Team (DWT) at Nelson Marlborough Health's Public Health Service

  2. ask for a 'WS03 notification form' or download one from the Ministry of Health website

  3. submit your completed form to the DWT at least 14 days (10 working days) prior to the event


Why do you need to seek permission

  • under the Health (Drinking-Water) Amendment Act (HDWAA) Section 69ZI there is a duty to advise a Medical Officer of Health at your Public Health Service if you intend to supply drinking water at an event for more than 25 persons

  • this helps protect people from the risks of pathogenic organisms that are commonly found in untreated, unboiled water

  • should event attendees contract an infection or disease then your notification (and compliance with any set specified conditions) could help your defence by demonstrating due diligence

  • under Section 69 ZZR (3)(g) a person who fails to advise the Medical Officer of Health may, upon summary conviction, be liable to a fine of up to $5,000.



Nelson Marlborough Public Health Service Drinking Water Team


Nelson/Richmond: (03) 543 7931

or Blenheim: (03) 520 9914

Email: [email protected]