Central Government is transforming the way drinking water, wastewater and stormwater (the three waters) are delivered in Aotearoa.
This is to give New Zealanders confidence that drinking water is safe to use, sources of drinking water are adequately protected, and wastewater and stormwater are managed in environmentally sustainable ways.
The Reform Programme
In July 2020, the Government launched the Three Waters Reform Programme – a three-year programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements in a way that improves health and wellbeing outcomes to benefit all communities in New Zealand.
The Reform Programme stemmed from the campylobacter contamination in Havelock North’s drinking water supply in 2017 that saw more than 5,000 people become ill, with up to four deaths associated with the outbreak. A two-stage government review ensued and recommended several improvements, including establishing a large, aggregated water supplier and a stronger regulatory regime.
New delivery model
In October 2021, following substantial work undertaken over the past year to explore an integrated and extensive package of reform to the current system for delivering three waters services and infrastructure, the Government announced that it would be pursuing the move to transfer responsibility for the infrastructure and delivery of Aotearoa's three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater) to four publicly-owned water service entities.
These four publicly-owned water service entities will ensure all New Zealanders have access to safe, affordable water services that meet their expectations now and into the future. Kapiti will be part of water service entity C.
The Government has indicated that it intends to progress legislation in December 2021 to enable this change, with a Select Committee process due to commence in early 2022.