Boil Water Notice - what does it mean

For time to time the Council has to issue a boil water notice for areas of its water supply network. 

This is nothing to be too concerned about as long as you following the advice.

Boil Water Notice FAQs 


There are different reasons for a ‘boil water’ advisory, including concerns that your drinking water source may have been contaminated with flood water. Flood water can contain disease causing bugs (i.e. disease causing bacteria and protozoa) or other contaminants. Boiling your drinking water will ensure all bugs that may be in the water supply are killed.


I have already drunk the water. Will I get sick?
If you get diarrhoea, vomiting and/or a fever, contact Healthline (0800 611 116) or your doctor. Babies, young children, the elderly and people who have compromised immune systems are more at risk of illness.

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 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?
Only use boiled or bottled water for brushing your teeth. You can shave as usual using tap water.

Can I use the water for handwashing?
You should either:

Use bottled or boiled water for handwashing Use soap and tap water followed by an additional hand disinfection, by either:
- Rinsing hands in disinfectant solution (add 1 teaspoon plain household bleach to 10 litres of water and allow to stand for 30 minutes before use. Change solution frequently)
- Using an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol

Wet wipes used for cleaning babies are not effective for disinfecting hands.

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. Tap water can only be used in foods that
will be thoroughly cooked. 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

I have a water filtration unit installed. Does this make the water safe?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Filtered water should also be boiled for one minute before using it for drinking, foodpreparation or teeth brushing.

Can I use my coffee machine, soda machine or ice maker?
Coffee machines, ice makers and soda dispensers that are connected to the water supply should not be used. Use bottled water or water that has been boiled or
disinfected for making coffee, ice or soda drinks.

I wash dishes by hand. How do I disinfect them?
Dishes can be washed using boiled water. If you use tap water, dishes washed withwater and detergent should be rinsed in a bleach solution. (1 tablespoon unscented
household bleach per 5 litres of water). Allow dishes to completely air dry.

I have a dishwasher. Is it safe to use?
If your dishwasher has a hot setting, it can be used to wash dishes. If your dishwasher does not have a hot setting, after the finishing cycle, rinse the dishes in a bleach
solution afterwards (1 tablespoon unscented household bleach per 5 litres of water). Allow dishes to completely air dry.

Should I change the way I am doing my laundry?
No, continue doing your laundry the way you usually do.

What about my pets or livestock?
Pets and livestock can usually drink untreated water. If your pet is unwell, has vomiting and diarrhoea, contact your veterinarian. Make sure you wash your hands well after
handling your pet and use rubber or disposable gloves if you are cleaning up after it.

When the boil water notice is lifted further advice and information will be provided to households regarding flushing household water systems.



Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: