Clean and safe drinking water right from the tap is seen by many Kiwis as a right, not a privilege - but it is not always the case.
Almost half a million New Zealanders drink water that could make them sick.
Experts estimate that there are between 18,000 and 34,000 cases of waterborne disease every year and more than 700,000 New Zealanders are supplied with water that does not comply with bacterial standards.
In the past, supplies in Blenheim and Masterton have been
contaminated, but have since been dealt with.* Contaminated water
can have potentially serious effects such as diarrhoea, vomiting
and even death.
Three years ago, it became compulsory for water suppliers to provide safe water and try harder to prevent contamination.
Local councils put the bill for the upgrade at $900 million.
Geoff Swainson from Local Government New Zealand says standards are appropriate, but they have to be affordable.
"We believe the current standard has lifted the bar too high for poorer communities."
The Labour government put aside $150 million to help make the process affordable and last year Health Minister Tony Ryall allowed an extra three years for suppliers to reach the new standards, but put a freeze on the fund.
He says that was to stop a "first come, first served" system.
"We have to make sure it's the people that are most in need with
the priority that get treated first," he says.
The freeze means places like Tokomaru and Shannon in Horowhenua, and marae around the country have missed out for now.
The Manawatu town of Rongotea is thought to be the last town of its size without a council supply.
The review of the water upgrades and how to fund them is still months away.
* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the contamination was current. The issue was dealt with some time ago.