Te Pire Ratonga Wai
The Water Services Bill

An overview of the Water Services Bill and what it may mean for you.

Taumata Arowai is developing services according to the Water Services Bill as currently drafted. We're anticipating making changes to reflect the final Act.

The Water Services Bill as currently drafted

Water Services Bill – submissions closed 2 March 2021.

  • Introduced into Parliament in July 2020, the Bill:
    • was informed by consultation with targeted engagement with iwi and Māori, Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), Kāhui Wai Māori and a technical advisory group
    • sets out the regulatory framework that Taumata Arowai will administer.
  • If passed, the Act will:
    • significantly extend and strengthen the drinking water regulatory framework
    • provide oversight and national-level reporting functions for wastewater and stormwater – ‘shine a light’ on the system. Regional councils will continue to be the regulator of wastewater and stormwater
    • incorporate requirements relating to Te Mana o te Wai.
  • Taumata Arowai:

Main features

  • At all times drinking water suppliers have a primary duty to supply safe drinking water.
  • Transition arrangements mean that large suppliers (serving 500 or more people) must have a drinking water safety plan by the end of year one. Small suppliers (serving less than 500 people) have a five-year transition period to complete their drinking water safety plans.
  • All people with functions and duties under the legislation to give effect to Te Mana o te Wai.
  • The legislation is being implemented according to scale, complexity and risk – not a ‘one size fits all’ approach.
  • The regulatory framework is consistent with international best practice.
  • There is a strong focus on capability – new authorisation and occupational regulation requirements will be established through secondary legislation. Local authorities are required to meet authorisation requirements within five years. We haven't developed this authorising framework yet and we'll provide more information when it's available.

About drinking water safety plans

A drinking water safety plan records a risk-based assessment and management process that aims to make sure there is a safe and secure supply of drinking water for consumers.

  • Under the Bill, Taumata Arowai will not be responsible for approving drinking water safety plans. Instead, suppliers will be expected to update their plans so they remain current and manage the risks associated with a water supply.
  • Taumata Arowai will however review drinking water safety plans against legislative requirements and monitor compliance.
  • A drinking water supplier is best placed to manage the risks associated with a water supply.
  • Taumata Arowai will follow-up with suppliers if a plan is incomplete, unclear or appears to fall short of complying with requirements.
  • Revised plans to be forwarded to Taumata Arowai whenever material changes are made.