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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

We intend to publish a Public Register of Stormwater Networks in the future.

Wastewater and stormwater measures, targets and standards

We intend to introduce network environmental performance measures for wastewater and stormwater in the future.

In late 2022, we held a public consultation on wastewater measures and 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.

In the meantime, we have invited network operators to provide data in relation to some wastewater and stormwater networks’ environmental performance measures on a voluntary basis.

The data we receive will be summarised in an annual Network Environmental Performance Report that we prepare under the Water Services Act 2021. 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 Aotearoa New Zealand are performing. The first report is intended to be released in early 2024.