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Te Whanganui a Tara – The government is proposing to establish four publicly-owned entities to take responsibility of drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure across New Zealand ensuring the $120 to $185 billion investment in services can be made.

New Zealand, a small island country with so much water, until now, is still much better off than other nations.

The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) says access to clean water is a fundamental human right.

When the United Nations member countries established a plan for sustainable development in 2015, clean water was high on the agenda.

As of 2017, the number of people who did not have access to basic water services was 785 million.

About 144 million people were, in 2017, collecting water directly from surface water sources.

The World Health Organisation says at least two billion people get their water from a source contaminated by faeces. Using contaminated water is estimated to result in 485,000 diarrhoeal deaths a year.

Around 50 percent of the world’s population is expected to be living in water-stressed areas that don’t have adequate freshwater to meet demand by 2025.

It’s estimated New Zealand will need to invest between $120 billion and $185 billion to maintain safe, sustainable and environmentally appropriate drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure over the next 30 years.

The reforms are indicated to grow New Zealand’s GDP by $14 billion to $23 billion over the next 30 years and generate 5850 to 9260 full-time equivalent jobs.

At present, 67 councils provide most of the country’s three waters services, a system that is in too many cases ineffective, inefficient, and not fit for purpose.