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Last modified: 10 Aug 2021 2:59pm

A boy in a blue sun hat drinks from a drinking fountain

You may have heard about the Three Waters Reforms – and wondered what it’s all about.

Ever since residents of Havelock North fell ill with a gastroenteritis outbreak in 2016, all council water services across New Zealand have been in the spotlight. The government is proposing to address the urgent challenges in the water sector with a top to bottom reform of our drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure and management.

The proposed reform would shift the responsibility for water services away from individual councils into four new multi-regional entities, with an investment programme of up to $185 billion.

Under the proposal, Selwyn will become part of ‘Entity D’ which covers most of the South Island. In a move to ensure that no council will be worse off, the government has offered a stimulus package and Selwyn’s share of that will be $22.3 million. To receive that funding, the Council must agree to hand over our three waters assets and revenue to the new entity. Currently, an option exists to opt out of the reforms and go it alone.

So what’s Selwyn’s position? As yet we haven’t made a decision on our participation. At the moment we are continuing to analyse the data provided by the government about their proposal so that we can better understand the impact on our residents.

At present, our water infrastructure is among the best in the country and we want to make sure our residents are not left worse off under any changes. We want to make sure the community continues to have access to the services they currently receive, with a quality of service at least as good as it is now. It’s also important that we protect our community’s voice, for example on matters like chlorination and level of service standards. Once we have all the data we plan to seek your views on the proposal before we make a decision.

Find out more.