Three Waters


Privately-owned water supplies

Most privately-owned or community-owned rural water supplies will not be affected by the three waters reform.

The tens of thousands of mainly smaller privately-owned rural drinking water schemes and community-owned supplies such as those for marae and kāinga throughout New Zealand will not be affected by the three waters reforms. They will not be transferred to the new Water Services Entities as part of the reforms.

If you are a single household self-supplier – receiving your water from a rainwater tank or private bore without the potential to connect to a reticulated network – you will not be impacted by the reforms.

Rural mixed-use schemes provide both drinking water and water for farming and agriculture. While there are thousands of these schemes around New Zealand, most are privately-owned, and again they will be largely unaffected by the current three waters reforms which are only concerned with council-owned water infrastructure.

However, there are about 75-100 council-owned mixed-use rural schemes around the country which will transfer to the new Water Services Entities unless users successfully apply to take over ownership of their supply.

Any water supply which provides drinking water to more than one household irrespective of whether it is private, council-owned or owned by a Water Services Entity, will need to meet Taumata Arowai’s new Drinking Water Quality Assurance Rules and Standards.

You can find out more about these standards and requirements here.

Tap water running into a trough on a farm

Users of ‘mixed-use’ rural water schemes will have the option to own and operate the schemes, independent of a Water Services Entity.