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The Water Services Bill addresses the need for a regulatory regime that will “ensure that drinking water suppliers provide safe drinking water to consumers”. Forest & Bird welcomes efforts to reform drinking water provisions but considers changes to the Water Services Bill, outlined in the submission, are needed to ensure it is best able to deliver on its intent.

This submission also concludes: 

  • Risks cannot simply be managed; they must be mitigated. Forest & Bird asks that the concept of mitigation be inserted into the Water Services Bill.
  • Effective oversight and strong regulation are required for protection of source water. This will require Taumata Arowai’s close involvement with local authorities and their cooperation.
  • Multiple legislative instruments are linked to the success of the Taumata Arowai. Therefore, the efficacy of the implementation of the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management and the National Environment Standards for Freshwater and the strength of regulation in the Resource Management Act reform will directly affect the level of risk to source water.
  • It is paramount that all legislations work well together and are swiftly implemented with source water and the effects of drinking water taken into account.
  • Local Authorities must do better at monitoring and enforcing compliance. If this is not taken seriously then strong regulation will be ineffectual.
  • The cumulative effect of land use is the single greatest existing threat to source water, and is missing from the Water Services Bill.
  • Quantity requirements must account for the varied nature of ‘ordinary drinking water requirements’ given local context as well as influence of water availability which will be determined by the hydrologic cycle and effected by climate change.
  • Climate change is the single greatest future threat and is missing from this Bill. Climate change will undoubtedly impact the risk profile of both drinking water and source water therefore must be a part of planning.
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