Essential Freshwater and the Three Waters Review

About the Three Waters Review into drinking, wastewater and storm water.

The Government is reviewing drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services (The Three Waters Review)

The review is to give New Zealanders confidence that:

  • drinking water is safe to use
  • sources of drinking water are adequately protected
  • wastewater and stormwater are managed in environmentally sustainable ways.

As part of this review, there will be legislation that establishes a new framework for drinking water, headed by an independent regulator. This legislation is part of the Government’s response to drinking water safety. It follows lessons learned from the Havelock North incident in 2016 when a drinking water supply was contaminated with Campylobacter.

In order to take a holistic approach to managing water – ki uta, ki tai – the Three Waters Review also aims to:

  • strengthen the regulation of Three Waters infrastructure 
  • ensure these regulatory changes complement the wider Essential Freshwater reforms. 

For further information including a report back on stakeholder engagement, see Three Waters Review [Te Tari Taiwhenua | Department of Internal Affairs website]