Three Waters


How will our water services be improved?

Planning to ensure our water services are able to meet the needs of today and challenges like population growth, climate change and natural disasters.

The three waters services (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) are the council-owned infrastructure network and processes used to treat, transport, and discharge drinking water, wastewater and stormwater. Three waters services are currently operated by councils on behalf of communities.

The Three Waters Reforms will shift the current 67 council-owned and operated three waters services into four new publicly-owned entities to manage the delivery of safe and reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services. – The Water Services Entities will continue to be owned by each region’s councils on behalf of their local communities.

While councils will continue to own the assets, the entities will operate independently enabling strategic long-term investment in water services that is not dependent on other demands on council funding. The scale of each of the new Water Services Entities inherently brings greater financial flexibility than  smaller organisations have to fund water infrastructure investment.

Local people with expertise in water service delivery will still be involved in water service delivery but will have new opportunities as part of building a world-class water system.

These new entities will:

  • be publicly-owned by councils on behalf of their communities
  • have strong protection against privatisation
  • be managed in partnership with local government and mana whenua
  • have greater ability to borrow to fund long-term infrastructure
  • be run by independent boards of water infrastructure experts.

The Government has also proposed a new economic regulatory regime to protect consumer interests and drive efficient investment and performance.


Young girl standing on grass in a garden holding a hose with water shooting into the air.

Improved water services will benefit all New Zealanders.