Three Waters Reform Programme
In July 2020, the Government launched its Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements.
What is being proposed?
The intention is to reform local government’s three waters services into a small number of multi-regional entities with a bottom line of public ownership.
These entities would deliver:
- drinking water,
- and stormwater services.
What does that mean for us?
The Government has proposed setting up four water service delivery entities. One of these is proposed for the Ngāi Tahu takiwā that would include the Canterbury region. The proposed governance of the entity would recognise Ngāi Tahu’s status as mana whenua.
The reforms are intended to address issues of affordability and debt, compliance with safety and environmental standards, and building resilience to natural hazards and climate change into three waters networks. It is believed that by providing these services at a larger scale, greater efficiencies and capabilities can be achieved.
Currently 67 different councils own and operate most of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across New Zealand.
Environment Canterbury has a role in managing land use activities to protect drinking water sources from possible contamination, and monitors wastewater and stormwater compliance.
A new water regulator, Taumata Arowai, will enforce drinking water standards and set performance measures for wastewater and stormwater infrastructure that regional councils will regulate.
Working alongside regional council regulators, such as Environment Canterbury, Taumata Arowai will monitor compliance with environmental regulations at a national level and drive greater focus on the performance of wastewater and stormwater networks.
What are we doing?
The Canterbury Mayoral Forum recently wrote to Minister Mahuta requesting a one-year pause in the reform that would allow sufficient time to consult with communities and enable outcomes from the review on the future of local government to be considered.
Government financial package announced to improve water services delivery and to explore water reform in partnership with councils.
- Find out more about the reform.
- Learn about Taumata Arowai.
- Find out more about the 'Better water is better for everyone' campaign.
- Find out more about the roles of agencies involved in making sure our drinking water is safe.