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For wastewater and stormwater operators

Our role in relation to wastewater and stormwater networks.

As well as being the regulator for drinking water supplies, we have a role in how certain wastewater and stormwater networks are managed, regulated and perform. This includes monitoring and reporting on environmental performance to enhance transparency and enable New Zealanders to make comparisons of performance locally, regionally, and nationally.

We also do a range of things to support improvements in the environmental performance of those networks, including:

  • Setting network environmental performance measures, targets, or standards
  • Providing guidance such as best practice guidelines, advice and information
  • Supporting the development of knowledge through research, education and training.

We work closely with regional councils, which are responsible for environmental planning, resource consents, and related monitoring and enforcement, e.g. for the discharge of wastewater and stormwater to the environment under the Resource Management Act 1991 (and its replacement legislation).

What do we mean by wastewater and stormwater networks?

Wastewater and stormwater networks are defined in the Water Services Act 2021 as those networks operated by councils (or their subsidiaries), government departments, and the New Zealand Defence Force. For stormwater networks, this is further limited to networks in ‘urban’ areas.

Public Register of Wastewater Networks

One of our responsibilities is to establish and maintain a Public Register of Wastewater Networks (the Register).

The Register currently includes a limited range of information on networks operated by councils for cities, towns and other communities. The basic data identifies each:

  • network
  • operator of the network
  • resource consent that authorises effluent (treated wastewater) discharge from a wastewater treatment plant
  • receiving environment to which discharge is made (e.g., land, freshwater or sea).

In the future, we intend to update the Register:

  • on an annual basis with some of the information network operators provide as part of Network Environmental Performance Measures
  • to include information on the networks of government departments and the New Zealand Defence Force.

If you have any questions about the measures or our Register, please contact us at measures@taumataarowai.govt.nz.

Public Register of Stormwater Networks

Our initial Public Register of Stormwater Networks includes information on urban stormwater networks operated by councils, council-controlled organisations, or their subsidiaries. 

This information has been sourced from Water New Zealand’s National Performance Review (NPR). We are grateful to Water New Zealand for collating information as part of their stormwater inventory over the past 14 years.  

The register includes a limited range of network information to begin with. We’ll be working to develop a more complete register in Hinekōrako by the end of 2024. We’ll contact network operators when the time comes to check information on their public stormwater networks in Hinekōrako. We also intend to include information on urban stormwater networks operated by government departments and the New Zealand Defence Force. 

Wastewater and stormwater measures, targets and standards

We have introduced new environmental performance measures on wastewater networks following public consultation in late 2022. The new measures are detailed in our Network Environmental Performance Measures and Guide 2024.

We will consult further on any other proposed measures, and then publish them on our website. We may also look at adopting network environmental performance standards and targets.

The data we receive on performance measures will be summarised in an annual Network Environmental Performance Report and published on our website. The report may also contain examples of best practice, specific risks or concerns that relate to network performance or practices, and insights on how different networks across the country are performing. Our first report will be published in mid-2024.