Three Waters Reform Programme


All New Zealanders need safe, reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater - the three waters services. We depend on these for the health and wellbeing of our communities and our environment.

Local government is facing significant challenges in managing drinking water, stormwater and wastewater services.

To address this, the Government is progressing reforms so that three waters services will be provided by four publicly-owned water service entities from July 2024.

These reforms will ensure public health and wellbeing, environmental outcomes, economic growth and job creation, housing and urban development, adaptation to the impacts of climate change, building resilience to natural hazards, and upholding iwi/Māori rights and interests relating to water services.

More about the Three Waters Reform Programme

Listen to Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta talk about why the Government is proceeding with reform.

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Summary of the Three Waters Reform Proposals

These are complex reforms. The Department of Internal Affairs have provided a quick overview of the Three Waters Reforms covering key questions. This includes why three waters are important, what the Government has proposed and why, the objectives of reform, and an indicative reform timeline.

Next steps

The Government is continuing to work with iwi/Māori and local government, and shared a draft Water Services Entities Bill with the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability for consideration as part of its work.

The Working Group has reported back to the Minister with its recommendations on improved representation, governance and accountability arrangements. 

Report from the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability (PDF, 1.9MB)

Executive Summary of the Report from the Working Group on Representation, Governance and Accountability (PDF, 1.1MB)

Following consideration of the Working Group’s recommendations and Government decisions, the Bill is expected to be introduced to the House in mid-2022. People can make submissions on the Bill when it is referred to Select Committee shortly after.

Read more about the Working Group and the exposure draft of the Bill

Further information

  • Drinking water

    Find out more about the
    four-year journey the Government has taken to ensure all New Zealanders receive safe, affordable and reliable drinking water services.

  • Wastewater

    Read reports from the Three Waters Review about the future costs of wastewater networks that meet minimum environmental standards.

  • Stormwater

    Find out more about the Stormwater Technical Working Group, established in March 2021, and their Transition Plan Report.

  • About Three Waters
    Reform Programme

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

  • Frequently Asked

    Frequently asked questions about Three Waters Reform Programme.

  • National Transition Unit

    Learn more about the transition to the new system for delivery of water services

Contact us

If you have any queries, please email: or

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