Nelson City Council is continuing with the required construction works as per the Ministry of Health guidance.

On 22 Feb 2024 the Director-General of Health granted Nelson an extension till 31 December 2024.

It will await further advice from the Director General of Health before commencing fluoridation of Nelson City's water supply.

For any questions, please contact the Ministry of Health.

Nelson City Council directed to fluoridate water

In August 2022 the Director-General of Health made a direction under the Health Act (section 116E) for Nelson City Council to add fluoride to Nelson's water supply.

The current estimated capital cost of introducing fluoridation for the Nelson drinking water is $909,069.

Nelson City Council has applied to Manatū Hauora (the Ministry of Health) to cover the cost of the capital works and a funding agreement has been signed.

More information on fluoride is available on the Ministry of Health's website.

The Health (Fluoridation of Drinking Water) Amendment Act 2021 shifted decision-making on fluoridation from local authorities to the Director-General of Health.

In August 2022, then Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield made directions under the Health Act to 14 local authorities, including Nelson, to add fluoride to their water supply. The direction is to have this in place by April 2024, 12 to 18 months from the date of direction. The Bill states that it is an offence for a drinking water supplier to not comply with the Director-General of Health direction. This offence under s69ZZR(1) of the Health Act 1956 would be a strict liability offence with a maximum penalty of $200,000 plus an ongoing fine of $10,000 per day during which the offence continues.

Currently, fluoride levels in Nelson’s raw water supply is below detectable limits. The direction sets a target concentration of fluoride in treated water between 0.7 and 1.0 mg/L. This is consistent with levels throughout Aotearoa

On 22 Feb 2024 the Director-General of Health granted Nelson an extension till 31 December 2024.

Council will advise the community using all of our normal communication channels – including online through social media and our website, the Our Nelson print publication and through a media release.

The Good Practice Guide for Fluoridation of Drinking Water Supplies in New Zealand sets out how water fluoridation plants should be designed and operated to ensure the safe and effective addition of fluoride to drinking-water supplies.

In addition, as part of the normal operation of the water treatment plant the operators are required to monitor the treatment plant 24 hours a day. Council has confidence that the monitoring and response procedures that will be put in place for the fluoridation process will provide the necessary oversight to prevent harm to the community from the operation of the fluoridation equipment.. Any exceedances must be reported to Taumata Arowai (the water services regulator).

Nelson City Council provides potable water that meets the requirements of the Water Services (Drinking Water Standards for New Zealand) Regulations 2022. Post fluoridation this will continue to be the case. We will not be (and neither is there a requirement) to provide non fluoridated water to our community.

Please see the Ministry of Health’s website for information including the comprehensive review for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation public water that concluded there is no significant health risks. More info can be found here.

There is a set water fee for providing water connections to properties in Nelson, and is part of your annual rates. Water charges are levied as a rate under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002.

People use water for a variety of things, including hygiene, watering gardens, firefighting and general consumption. As the water is metered, people are charged for the water they use. The fluoride to be added to Nelson's water has been determined to be at a safe level, recognised by the World Health Organisation and as directed by the MoH. People can choose to use the water or not, but the rating associated with providing water must legally be paid.