Three Waters


About three waters for households

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

A report by the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) estimates show that New Zealand will need to invest $120 billion to $185 billion in our three waters infrastructure over the next 30 years to catch up on the historic underinvestment and plan for the future.

All communities in New Zealand will benefit by receiving better quality water services while all paying less than they would without reform. After reform, costs per average household are projected to range between $800 and $1,640. Without reform, these costs will be shared unevenly among New Zealand households. It is estimated these cost increases over the 30-year period could be up to 13 times higher for rural users, eight times higher for provincial areas and seven times higher for many metropolitan households.

The Three Waters Reforms present an opportunity for us to work together as a country to ensure drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services meet our safety, cultural and environmental expectations at an affordable price no matter where you live.​

The reforms also present opportunities to:​

  • Build a world-leading, innovative three waters system ​
  • Grow the local workforce and unlock new professional pathways and development opportunities​
  • Unlock housing and economic development, and create a secure pipeline of infrastructure investment that will grow the national and regional economies
  • ​Provide a fair and equitable system for three waters services, where all communities have access to safe and affordable three waters services.