Three Waters Reform


Ōtorohanga District Council's Three Waters Position Statement can be found here [PDF 2.02 MB] and the response from the Department of Internal Affairs to the submission can be found here [PDF 241 KB].


In July 2020, the Government launched a programme to reform local government three waters service delivery arrangements. Currently 67 different councils own and operate the majority of the drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services on behalf of their communities. The Government proposes to establish four new publicly-owned multi-regional entities to deliver these services.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has released a map (PDF 398.27KB)  showing the proposed boundaries of the three entities. Ōtorohanga District Council falls into Entity B.

The reform programme is being progressed through a voluntary, partnership-based approach with the local government sector, alongside iwi/Māori as the Crown’s Treaty Partner. 

The Three Waters Reform Programme is a major, intergenerational project. Its aim is to ensure that New Zealand’s three waters'—our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater—infrastructure and services are planned, maintained and delivered so that these networks are affordable and fit for purpose.

For further information, see the  A3 Summary of the three waters reform programme (PDF 781.22KB)  and the Water service entities overview (PDF 398.27KB)


You can view the overview of the programme here (PDF 781.22KB) . 

You can also read more information on the reform programme on the DIA and LGNZ websites


You can find out what other councils around New Zealand think of this reform here


In mid-July the Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government announced a comprehensive $2.5 billion three waters support package.

The package has three financial components:

  1. Support for local government to invest in communities’ wellbeing. This part of the investment totals $2 billion, with $500 million being available from 1 July 2022. It will be allocated between councils according to a nationally consistent formula, reflecting population (75 per cent), deprivation (20 per cent) and land area (5 per cent).
  2. Targeted support to ensure no councils are financially worse off as a result of transferring their three waters assets. This is designed to protect councils from any negative financial consequences of the asset transfer.
  3. Cover of reasonable transition costs. This is intended to make sure council service delivery (including of water services) during the transition isn’t compromised by the work needed to make the transition happen.

Government to provide support for water reforms, jobs and growth 

Three Waters Reform Programme – Support Package – Information and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) (PDF 746.82KB)  

Ōtorohanga has been allocated just over $2.5 million through the “Better Off” package, which is allocated to territorial authorities on the basis of a nationally consistent formula that takes into account population, relative deprivation and land area. This formula recognises the relative needs of local communities, the unique challenges facing local authorities in meeting those needs, and differences across the country in the ability to pay for those needs. Territorial authorities will be able to use this funding to support the delivery of local wellbeing outcomes associated with climate change and resilience, housing and local placemaking.

Territorial authorities are asked to consider the support package alongside the case for change the Government has presented.