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Three Waters Reform

About Three Waters reform

The Government has mandated changes to the way drinking water, waste water and storm water are delivered in our communities. With major challenges ahead for the three water services (collectively known as Three Waters), the changes aim to ensure all New Zealanders have access to safe, reliable and affordable water services, while taking better care of our environment.

During August and September 2021, Councils reviewed and assessed information on the Government’s proposal. The model would see the responsibility for Matamata Piako district’s three waters services transferred to a regional entity comprising 22 councils from the Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Taranaki and top of the central North Island. The entity would remain in public ownership.

At the end of September 2021 we provided feedback to the Government outlining our concerns with the model and indicated that we would not support the proposal in its current form.

After considering the feedback from all local authorities, Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta confirmed on 27 October 2021 that the Government will push ahead with its preferred Three Waters reform plan - mandating changes to water services nationally. This decision is counter to the Government’s earlier promise to give Councils the choice of opting in or out of the reform in December.

New legislation has been introduced, and more is being drafted, to enable this change. Please check the timeline and additonal information section on this page for more on this.

The National Transition Unit has been established to execute the Government’s decisions on Three Waters reform through a consistent and coordinated nationwide approach to transition. From November 2021 to 1 July 2024, the transition from the current system to the new one will take place.

Government has provided a funding package to support councils transition through the Three Waters Reform. Matamata-Piakos’s potential share of the funding is $17.27 million, with $4.32 million available this year and the remainder in 2024. Council has until 30 September 2022 to sign an agreement with Government for the first tranche of funding, and asked the community what they thought Council should consider when deciding whether to apply for this funding.

Latest updates

Frequently Asked Questions

What is 'three waters'?

The term “three waters’’ refers to drinking water, waste water and storm water.

This is a term used within government and local government and includes the regulation, ownership and governance of assets, how they are managed, and how these services are delivered. 

Project Timeline (tentative guide)


Govt. to establish representation and accountability working group

End October 2021



National Transition Unit engagement with local authorities begins

Early 2022


Water Services Entities Bill (Bill 1) introduced to Parliament

June 2022



$4.32m of the $17.27m better-off funding available for MPDC

August 2022

Water Services Entities Bill (Bill 2) introduced

Late 2022

Economic regulation legislation introduced to Parliament

Late 2022

Report back of Water Services Entity Bill


Economic regulation legislation enacted

mid-late 2023

New entities take responsibility for delivering water services

July 2024

Funding implications

From the day of transition* (1 July 2024) our total income would reduce but there would also be a reduction in outgoings. We would continue to break even, and therefore remain viable without Three Waters in the equation.

Our ability to borrow money would increase under the reform.

*The assessment assumes we will continue to deliver on our 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP).