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Enforceable undertakings

A water supplier may apply for an enforceable undertaking to acknowledge areas of actual or possible non-compliance with the Water Services Act 2021

For some drinking water suppliers, it may be difficult to comply with some requirements of the Water Services Act 2021 (the Act). For example, a supply may need significant work, consents or investment to meet the requirements, which may take time to complete or obtain. 

An enforceable undertaking allows you to acknowledge areas of actual or possible non-compliance and commit to specific actions designed to assure compliance in the future. It is a legally binding agreement between you and Taumata Arowai accepted at the discretion of the Chief Executive.  

While an enforceable undertaking is in place and after it has been fulfilled, you cannot be prosecuted for a behaviour, incident or non-compliance relating to the enforceable undertaking.  If you do not meet the terms of an enforceable undertaking, Taumata Arowai can apply to the High Court for an order directing compliance, an order discharging the undertaking, or a civil pecuniary penalty.

Who can apply?

Any duty holder under the Act can apply for an enforceable undertaking. We will consider the size, scale, and complexity of your supply when assessing applications.  

Your application will need to adequately show your: 

  • commitment to giving effect to Te Mana o te Wai 
  • ability to meet commitments in a reasonable timeframe 
  • compliance history 
  • ability to manage risks in the interim 
  • commitment to achieving more than the minimum requirements of the Act and relevant secondary legislation   
  • commitment to support lifting the overall capability of the sector.  

An enforceable undertaking cannot be accepted in relation to behaviour which is reckless or for a contamination offence.  

There are no application fees or charges for enforceable undertakings. 

Exemption or enforceable undertaking

An exemption is different to an enforceable undertaking. An exemption allows you to be exempt from complying with a range of legislative requirements. An enforceable undertaking does not exempt you from complying with your duties under the Act. Instead, it provides a pathway for you to make commitments to comply with your duties within a specific period of time.   

If you are considering applying for an enforceable undertaking, please check with your local Taumata Arowai team first. They will be able to advise if it is the right tool for you to use. 


Guidance on applying for an enforceable undertaking

Read this guidance for information you need to know about applying for an enforceable undertaking, including the application process and what we will take into consideration.