New Zealand has fallen behind when it comes to looking after its water.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton said the Napier City Council was just one of many that felt this way and something needs to be done.

The Government is reviewing how to improve the management of drinking water, stormwater and wastewater (three waters) to better support New Zealand's prosperity, health, safety and environment.

Three waters services are a core responsibility of local councils.


But Dalton believed one more factor should be added to the review - flooding and inundation - as cities such as Napier were at high risk of these events.

"Napier is a very low lying city, we pump about 80 per cent of our storm water and we should include flooding and inundation - so, effectively, four waters," he said.

The review followed the outbreak of gastroenteritis in Havelock North in August 2016, resulting in four associated deaths and an estimated 5000 people falling ill.

The review raised broader questions about the effectiveness of the regulatory
regime for the three waters, and the capability and sustainability of water service

"The problem we've got in New Zealand is that we've really fallen behind in the looking after water. That includes the quality of drinking water, the disposal of storm water and waste water and, probably, flood waters as well.

"We really need to get stuck in and get up to speed. Somebody told me that, in terms of our drinking water standards, we are back in the 1960s compared to the western world."

Hawke's Bay Regional Council chief executive James Palmer attended the Zero Carbon Bill Consultation in June and said that flooding was a major problem in Hawke's Bay, as the region was experiencing more 'tropical weather.'

"We've seen some severe weather events and we've seen an increase in the intensity of heavy rainfall, particularly of a tropical nature," he said.


"We have very vulnerable landscapes, the region has been heavily denuded of original forest cover and we have nearly 300,000ha of land which is highly erosional."

"The risks we face with increased frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall events is that it takes sediment off the hills, blocks our rivers, raises the bed of our rivers up and consequently our flood risk is exasperated."

Dalton said he felt that the government had listened to his views on flooding and inundation.

"It's not only my thoughts, the government is concerned about it too, everyone is concerned about it."

"There's a huge commitment from local government New Zealand to smarten up the delivery of how we handle water."