ESR Risk & Response Group
ESR is the Institute of Environmental Science and Research Limited, a Crown Research Institute with science centres in
Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It provides consulting, research and analytical services
to government and industry, especially in the areas of environental health and forensic sciences. About 400 staff perform this work.
Within environmental health, ESR has major capabilities in the areas of water quality, food safety, population and environmental health, and communicable diseases.
Read more about ESR at the ESR website
The Risk & Response Group
The ESR Risk & Response Group is located in Christchuch, has around 40 scientific staff, and has recognised expertise in drinking
water regulation and policy, surface and groundwater protection, information systems, effective water treatment and supply technologies, and working with local communities. Disciplines include chemistry, microbiology,
molecular biology, and social sciences.
Risk & Response Group Projects especially related to drinking-water in New Zealand include:
Health and Environment Public Policy
- Development of model public health risk management
- Developing guidelines and resources to address
the risk to public health from drinking water quality in small communities
- Technical input into the development of the New
Zealand Drinking Water Standards 2000, Public Health Grading 2003,
and the Guidelines
for Drinking-water Quality Management
- Determination of the effectiveness of on-site sewage treatment and
Water Quality Surveillance and National Reporting
- Programme for the identification of Priority 2 determinands
- Annual Review of the Quality of Drinking-Water in New Zealand
- Register of Community Drinking-Water Supplies in New Zealand
Information Systems Development and Management
The Risk & Response Group plays a key role in developing and managing the
- WINZ (Water Information New Zealand). Used by ESR, Ministry
of Health, District Health Boards and Water Suppliers throughout
New Zealand to investigate and demonstrate the health status
- SWSS (Sanitary Works Subsidy Scheme). Facilitates the prioritization
of applications for subsidies in line with government-specified
- CoSINZ (Community Sewerage Information New Zealand). Identifies
and describes all communities applying for SWSS subsidies.
- NZMTD (New Zealand Microbial Typing Database). This development
will establish a harmonised subtyping methodology and a national
database for the subtyping of zoonotic micro-organisms for New
Water Supply Assessment and Treatment
- Investigation of Campylobacter transmission processes
- Risk assessment projects for sewage outfalls, drinking and
- Technical solutions to drinking-water source or treatment problems
- Characterising faecal indicator and zoonotic pathogen reservoirs
in grazing animals and waterfowl
- Developing methods of faecal source identification and quantification
in waters with respect to its human, bird,
farm or wild animal
- Groundwater systems contamination modelling, including pesticides
and land-use impacts.
- Improved water management through integrating scientifc and
- Removal of microbial indicators and pathogens at different
stages of wastewater treatment.
Many of these projects involve joint approaches with other organisations,
while all involve a combination of scientific knowledge combined
with working directly with those affected by the outcome.
If you would like to know more about one of these areas, check first for contacts
on the ESR website or contact us in the Water Information Systems team and we will forward
it to the relevant person.