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Auditor-General on water management

18 February 2020
Office of the Auditor-General
Publication date:


E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangarangatanga maha o te motu, tēnā koutou.

Managing New Zealand's water resources is, by their nature, challenging. It includes providing safe and secure drinking water, providing effective wastewater and stormwater services, allocating and managing freshwater resources, and balancing the wide range of interests in our marine environment.

As we said when we introduced our programme of work on water management:

The interconnectedness of the water cycle, the relationship between land use and water quality, and the place that water plays in our physical, economic, social, and cultural well-being are at the heart of the challenges associated with water management.

To manage water resources, public organisations in central and local government need to work in the short and long term with competing interests, often with limited information and resourcing. These challenges will become only more difficult as climate change and other pressures on our water resources become more significant.

The management of the country's water resources is of deep significance and concern to New Zealanders. People expect the water from their taps to be clean and safe, wastewater and stormwater to not pollute the environment, and our rivers, lakes, and oceans to be healthy ecosystems that are safe to swim in and to gather kai moana from. Failure to meet these expectations can cause lasting damage to the public's trust and confidence in public organisations.

For that reason, the work under our water theme during the last two years looked at how well public organisations are managing water resources and delivering water-related services for the benefit of New Zealanders now and in the years to come. ...

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February 2020

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