About the Reform Programme

In July 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements.

This reform programme builds on the progress made through the Three Waters Review and establishment of Taumata Arowai.

Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services across New Zealand. Local government is facing urgent challenges in the provision of these services including: funding infrastructure deficits, complying with safety standards and environmental expectations, building resilience to natural hazards and climate change into three waters networks, and supporting growth.

Rather than piecemeal solutions, comprehensive, system-wide reform is needed to achieve lasting benefits for the local government sector, our communities, and the environment.

The Government’s starting 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. The exact size, shape and design of these entities is still being worked through.

The reform programme is being progressed through a voluntary, partnership-based approach with the local government sector, alongside iwi/Māori as the Crown’s Treaty Partner. A Joint Three Waters Steering Committee provides collaborative oversight of the reform programme that brings together central and local government expertise and experience.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please email: 3waterssteeringgroup@dia.govt.nz or ThreeWaters@dia.govt.nz