Network Environmental Performance Measures

The Water Services Act 2021 introduces new requirements to monitor and report on the environmental performance of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater networks and their operators.

These requirements are designed to provide greater transparency about the performance of water services networks operated by local authorities and other public agencies, the impacts they have on the environment and public health, and to contribute to the continuous and progressive improvement of the quality of water services across Aotearoa New Zealand.

This change is about protecting the health of wai (water), tangata (people) and te taiao (the environment).

Network performance can impact the quality and reliability of drinking water, the resilience of our freshwater sources, and the safe removal and disposal of the wastewater and stormwater generated by our communities.

Almost all of us pay for water services through rates and/or water bills and it’s important this money is invested well and that we know how water services networks are performing.

The data we receive on performance measures will be summarised in the Network Environmental Performance Annual Report that Taumata Arowai will publish on an annual basis, starting 2023/24. The report will also contain examples of best practice, specific risks or concerns that relate to network performance or practices, and comparisons of how networks across the country are performing.

Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures

Early in 2022 we consulted on the Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures (Discussion Document), which set out our proposed approach to commence monitoring the environmental performance of drinking water networks.  

You can read a summary of the submissions.

As a result of feedback, we’ve refined the measures and published them in the Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures and Guidance Material.

Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures need to reflect a holistic and integrated view of prioritising the use of water, as articulated by Te Mana o te Wai. We recognise the measures don't strongly reflect this right now. We’re working with Mātauranga Māori experts and will provide more information in 2023 on what this may mean for Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures. 

Who is required to carry out monitoring and reporting? 

The monitoring and reporting requirements apply to network operators (rather than all water suppliers). ‘Network operator’ has a very specific definition under the Water Services Act 2021. It essentially means networks operated by, or on behalf of, councils or government departments.   

At this stage, these monitoring and reporting requirements only relate to drinking water network operators but in the future, measures will be introduced that apply to wastewater and stormwater operators. 

When do I need to begin monitoring and reporting?

Reporting will be phased with the first reporting period beginning on 1 July 2022. This means network operators will need to begin recording the required information from 1 July 2022 and report this information to Taumata Arowai by 30 September 2023

You can read more about data collection and reporting in the measures and guidance material. 

Guidance

Drinking Water Network Environmental Performance Measures and Guidance

This guidance material includes the measures for drinking water networks and outlines the associated:

  • information that drinking water network operators must record 
  • timeframes within which this data must be provided to Taumata Arowai, and  
  • method of reporting.