Government objectives

There are five key issues the Government aims to tackle by changing the way three waters services are provided. They are:   


In some areas, it is becoming unaffordable for councils – especially small councils with few ratepayers – to provide safe and reliable drinking water, as well as fit-for-purpose wastewater and stormwater services.


With many councils providing three waters services, some communities receive a different level of service to others. The reforms aim to provide a more consistent level of service across the country.

Under investment

The Government has reviewed information provided by councils and concluded that there is underinvestment in three waters infrastructure across parts of the country. There may be large costs over the next 30 years as infrastructure is brought up to standard.

New standards

With a new water regulator and consumer protections, there is a concern that councils may not be able to meet future requirements without reforms.

Climate change

Increased drought, flooding and sea level rise will create challenges for three waters services. The Government is concerned about the ability of councils to address these challenges effectively without reforms.

Last updated 22 September 2021