Three Waters

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Why are these changes happening?

From 1 July 2024, four new, publicly-owned Water Services Entities will deliver New Zealand's drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services.

After decades of underinvestment, our water systems are under pressure. As a country, we’ve been talking about changing the system for some years – now is the time to act so that our water systems can meet new demands from a range of challenges, including aging infrastructure, population growth, climate change, and natural disasters.

It’s estimated that between $120 billion and $185 billion is required to maintain and improve our water infrastructure over the next 30 years. The level of investment needed in water infrastructure is out of reach of individual councils alone.

Under the proposed changes, the responsibility for water services will shift from the 67 individual councils to four new Water Services Entities. Establishing the four Water Services Entities creates the scale and structural change that will enable the significant investment required.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a uniquely New Zealand world-class water system, putting Te Mana o Te Wai (the health and well-being of water) at the centre of how we deliver three waters services.

Te Mana o Te Wai is about taking a catchment-based and interconnected view of the water from source to sea. By putting Te Mana o Te Wai at the centre of how the four publicly-owned entities will operate, we fundamentally change the way these services will run. Te Mana o Te Wai will require organisations and their decision-makers to put the protection and enhancement of water at the heart of what they do and, by doing so, protect the health and well-being of our people and their environment. Healthy Water. Healthy People.