Nearly thirty percent of the wells tested showed growing levels of nitrate and alarmingly these wells are the main source of drinking water in the rural areas.
Federated Farmers Mid-Canterbury President Chris Allen allayed fears and said, "It's extremely safe, there's no question about that. The water quality standard for drinking water is twice as strict in New Zealand as it is in other parts of the world."
"There are hotspots around Ashburton - they are not part of the community water scheme, they will be individual wells on farming properties."
High levels of nitrate pose serious health risks especially to pregnant women and babies.