Three Waters Review


The Government is reviewing how to improve the management of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater (three waters) to better support New Zealand’s prosperity, health, safety and environment. Three waters services are a core responsibility of local councils.

Effective three waters services are essential for our communities

Our health and safety: depends on safe drinking water, safe disposal of wastewater and effective stormwater drainage.

Our prosperity: depends on adequate supply of cost effective three waters services for housing, businesses and community services.

Our environment: depends on well managed extraction of drinking water, and careful disposal of wastewater and stormwater.

The government is undertaking a comprehensive review of three waters services

  • Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced a reform programme to transform drinking, storm and wastewater.It is focussed on the challenges facing the sector, including funding pressures, rising environmental standards, climate change, seasonal pressure from tourism, and the recommendations of the Havelock North Inquiry.  The review is in its second stage.
    • Stage One – This stage explored the issues and opportunities with three waters services by gathering and analysing information. This was completed at the end of 2017.
    • Stage Two – This stage commenced in March 2018. It is looking at options for improving the three waters system, including the management, service delivery, funding, and regulatory arrangements.
  • Central government will work closely with councils, iwi and all stakeholders with an interest in three waters services in order to develop options and recommendations by the end of the year.

Three waters review - key documents

Review in summary:

Cabinet papers and minutes:


Cost estimates for upgrading Wastewater Treatment Plants to meet objective of the NPS Freshwater:

Context statement:

Earlier reports:

Presentations and speeches:

Minister's speeches:


Contact Details

For enquiries, please email

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