Three Waters Reform Proposals


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Three Waters Reform Proposals

The Government is considering how best to regulate and deliver the country’s three water services - drinking water, wastewater and stormwater.

The Government’s preference is to create four new regional water entities which would replace the 3 Waters work of 67 councils currently managing these services. The exact size, shape and design of these entities is still being worked on.

The Department of Internal Affairs released a map (below) in June 2021 showing the proposed boundaries of the four entities, proposing that Marlborough could, potentially, be split along iwi boundary lines and included in both water entity C and D.

Central/Local Government Three Waters Reform Programme

The Government expects that councils will consult the public later this year on the proposals and the Council is keen to have a full public discussion. Council has made no decisions yet and is also analysing new, more detailed information from the Government as it is provided.

Government reports

In June 2021, Government released four reports as part of the evidence base to support proposed reforms. They follow the initial analysis from the Water Industry Commission for Scotland (WICS) which was released last December. The reports are part of the evidence base for reform at a national level and don’t speak to implications for individual councils.

These reports include:

WICS final report - economic analysis of water services aggregation – June 2021 (PDF, 1.5MB)

WICS supporting material Part 1 - required investment - June 2021 (PDF, 1.5MB)

WICS supporting material Part 2 - scope for efficiency - June 2021 (PDF, 3MB)

WICS supporting material Part 3 - costs and benefits of reform - June 2021 (PDF, 4MB)

Farrierswier report - Three Waters Reform Programme - Review of WICS methodology and assumptions underpinning economic analysis of aggregation - June 2021 (PDF, 2MB)

Beca report - DIA Three Waters Reform - WICS Modelling Phase 2 - June 2021 (PDF, 653KB)

Deloitte report summary - final economic impact & affected industries - June 2021 (PDF, 1MB)

Deloitte report - Industry Development Study & Economic Impact Assessment - June 2021 (PDF, 4MB)

You can find out more about the background to these reports on the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website:

Go to DIA: Central-Local Government Three Waters Reform Programme page

Next steps

There is a lot of information we are yet to learn about the proposals and how they will impact Marlborough. We will provide this information as it is released by the Government. Any decision to participate in the 3 Waters reform programme will be subject to a Council decision and this will include working with our community.

Public Enquiries

We can help answer your questions on the Three Waters proposals through a special email address:

People are encouraged to read the 'Three Waters Reform - Agenda report 16 September 2021' (pdf above) and all the other information on this web page, then email us at the address above and let us know if you have any questions.


Members of the public were invited to attend an online presentation by Mayor John Leggett and Chief Executive Mark Wheeler on Wednesday 22 September.

Meeting Recording:

Further information:

Marlborough's current water services

See the Utilities section of our website

Council reports and media releases

Three waters report and recommendations go to Council - 10 September 2021

Council concerned and will consult on Three Waters reforms - 24 August 2021

Mayor comments on proposed water reforms - 2 July 2021

3 Waters Reform Programme information

Go to Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) website: Three Waters Reform Programme section

Go to DIA guidance to Councils: August and September

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ)

Go to LGNZ website: Three Waters section

Media analysis

Newsroom: When the government stirs the waters

Newsroom: Big water decisions influence future of small towns

Give your feedback to the Government

Go to '' website