Rural drinking water supply to remote communities

Rural drinking water supply remote communities | Marae water supply

Addressing unsafe rural drinking water supply

To address unsafe rural drinking water supply in small remote communities, a pilot Rural Drinking Water programme was launched. In New Zealand rural kāinga (villages), marae, papakāinga and kōhanga reo currently equate to 23 percent of total registered water supplies that are not connected to town water supplies.

Water treatment upgrades were required for six marae throughout Gisborne, Bay of Plenty and Great Island Barrier. The objectives of the project were to improve the long-term quality of the rural drinking water along with improving the capacity and capability of the water treatment plant installers, operators, and service people in these areas. 

FILTEC have been involved in the initiative as the lead drinking water plant supplier. The scope of works included the design and delivery of new water treatment systems, community operator training and ongoing maintenance to help keep each marae’s water safe.



Project type:
Small Community, Municipal, Residential

Plant Capacity:
25m³/day – 100m³/day

Understanding each communities treatment requirements and connection to ancient puna

Over the last 12 months, beginning in 2021, FILTEC have worked alongside Crown Infrastructure Partners and local marae to deliver six new water treatment plants. 

The process began with identifying each marae’s water source and volume requirements. With on-site training and support being a key deliverable, it was also critical for FILTEC to develop water treatment solutions suitable for rural site owners to carry out basic operation and maintenance.  

The six communities sourced their water from local rivers, streams, springs, bore and rainwater supplies. It was important to gain an understanding of each community’s connection to their ancient puna or water source to ensure the proposed solution complemented the natural water sources. 

Rural drinking water supply, Marae water supply, community water supply
Rural drinking water supply, remote communities, Marae water supply
Rural drinking water supply, Marae water supply, community water supply

Modular water treatment plants

The proposed solution for each marae was a modular water treatment plant inside a modest shed. The modular plants range in sizes – from 25 to 100 cubic metres – depending on water source, quality, and volume requirements. The modular solutions met the entire range of required capacities and treatment types, and were designed to be easy to install, operate and maintain.

The six water treatment plants each consist of a leaf screen and first flush diverter (roof water), break tank, pump, pre-filtration, cartridge filtration and UV disinfection system. A wide range of contaminants in water requires a series of modular solutions and these process ‘building blocks’ were selected for each site based on the specific water treatment challenges. 

Cost-effectively fabricated and assembled in-house

The modular plants were fabricated and assembled at our in-house manufacturing warehouse based in Auckland. Having an in-house facility allowed FILTEC to produce the required units cost-effectively and have a greater quality control. The completed modular treatment buildings were then delivered to each marae by road on a Hiab truck. 

FILTEC refined the construction methodology and optimised the delivery of the water treatment plants through the support of our local partners to install the detached building on-site. 

Improved water quality safe for drinking

FILTEC was able to identify the most suitable technology to be easily and efficiently installed at the first six marae sites that met New Zealand drinking water standards. We successfully upgraded the water storage quantity able to be kept on site and significantly improved the water quality, making it safe for drinking. Working closely with hapū and iwi, FILTEC gained a greater understanding of the culture significance of water to those communities.

Takitimu CIP Shed 2

A significant asset to the successful delivery of the pilot programme was FILTEC’s local reseller partners to support the install and maintenance of the water treatment systems. FILTEC has 30+ local partners throughout New Zealand located in close proximity to rural communities. We are continuing as the lead water treatment supplier throughout the remainder of the Rural Drinking Water Supply programme, supported by our local partner network.