There are two elements to the Three Waters reforms. One is not in council’s control and one is.
Firstly, we need to try to stop the current Three Waters reforms, because of their huge democratic deficit for all our communities and the iniquity of making councils that have looked after our water infrastructure (like Western Bay) lose out and have to pay again for the same investment elsewhere. Even the Auditor General (an independent officer of parliament with no axe to grind) has warned of major issues with the governance of the proposed Three Waters entities.
The second issue with Three Waters is in the council’s control and could really hit ratepayers in the pocket. As well as the water meter charges levied by the council, around a third of council rates income for a residential home is related to Three Waters assets (water, sewerage, stormwater).
If the government presses ahead with Three Waters next year, those rates will logically be diverted to the new Three Waters companies. Ratepayers will still face the same costs.
The council should then reduce our rates through the removal of these charges. However, there is a big risk that the council will want to keep the rates unchanged and divert the money it was spending on Three Waters to new vanity projects and priorities.
If it does, that will result in a big increase in costs for residents and ratepayers. Whoever is elected the next mayor must be vigilant to ensure Three Waters does not end up greatly increasing our rates/levies.