All New Zealanders deserve safe, reliable and affordable water services that support good health and sustainable environmental outcomes.
But, Aotearoa’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater—our three waters—networks are facing a crisis and will continue to do so without big changes.
The Government, working with councils, is proposing to build a better system for our three waters that is still owned by the communities it serves.
Better water is better for everyone. He puna wai, He puna ora.
Better Drinking Water
Ongoing problems like persistent boil-water or do-not-drink notices because of nasties in the water mean that there are communities in Aotearoa that are unable to access safe and reliable drinking water. We can do better.
Our plan ensures that Kiwis will have access to safe, reliable and affordable drinking water now, and into the future.
Better Wastewater & Stormwater
All too often we see network failures like burst pipes in our streets and raw sewage spilling onto our beaches and into our rivers. These are signs our wastewater and stormwater systems are in trouble. Kiwis expect more from our essential services.
Our plan ensures our wastewater and stormwater networks are future-proofed and safe for the environment.
What's Our Plan?
Evidence shows the investment needed to maintain and upgrade Aotearoa’s three waters infrastructure to meet drinking water and environmental standards and provide for population growth is in the order of $120 billion to $185 billion over the next 30 to 40 years. This is beyond the reach of most communities under the current arrangements.
Our plan addresses this by transforming the way we manage Aotearoa’s three waters services.
The Three Waters Reform Programme is a major, intergenerational project. It aims to ensure that New Zealand’s three waters—our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater—infrastructure and services are planned, maintained and delivered so that these networks are affordable and fit for purpose. The current situation does not achieve this for all communities.
Today, on behalf of their communities, 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across Aotearoa.
Working with councils, the Government proposes to establish four new publicly-owned multi-regional entities that benefit from scale and operational efficiencies and reflect neighbouring catchments and communities of interest. Central to this plan is our ongoing partnership with the local government sector and mana whenua.
To see how these decisions would impact your households three waters services costs, go to your Local Dashboard.
We’re taking a long-term view, building a system that will deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes for our communities and that protects our environment for generations to come.
For the latest Government announcement of $2.5 billion to support councils through the proposed reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services, see the Beehive website.
For more information about our journey so far, go to: Three Waters Reform Programme.