Napier - the city where the water can run brown and black - doesn't want the Government to fix it.
Residents have overwhelmingly told a Napier City Council survey that they would prefer a stronger local voice in the Government's proposed Three Waters reforms and would be prepared to go it alone or pay more to the Government to keep some control.
In recent years, residents across Napier have regularly reported discoloured water.
It's caused by the mixing of natural manganese reserves with chlorination used to treat the water, which was added after an e-coli scare soon after the Havelock North water crisis.
Under the current proposal, responsibility for Hawke's Bay's Three Waters services, including Napier's, would transfer to a regional entity comprising 21 councils from the East Coast of the North Island to the top of the South Island and the Chatham Islands.
NCC commissioned SIL Research to conduct a survey asking residents about their views on this proposal which generated nearly 800 responses.
The strongest view they shared was the importance of local voice in decision making with 83 per cent saying it was important to have a local influence in governing or the delivery of the three waters services.
About half added they would be prepared to pay more for this.
Napier Mayor Kirsten Wise said a better solution would be to have an entity made up of the local councils in Hawke's Bay.
"That way we can put local voice front and centre, we can adjust and pivot to meet changes in regulations, we can work closely with mana whenua."
For her community, water was about more than pumps and pipes, she said - having a strong voice in decision making around the governance and management of water was essential.
Public ownership of these assets was also important to community, and enabling a locally based model would provide a higher level of assurance that this continues, she said.
"Hawke's Bay councils working together for Hawke's Bay people is the best way to deliver water services in the future. We want to be very clear with the Government on this.
"We know we can't go it alone, but we have already begun to work together across a region.
"We already have relationships, plans and projects in place that see us making real headway in providing reliable, affordable and sustainable water services to our communities."
She said while government did not include community engagement in their consultation period, they felt it was important they wouldn't have been able to give valuable feedback without including the voice of the people.
The survey results helped inform NCC's submission to central government, due later this month.
The six areas of concern detailed in its submission include:
- The geographic boundaries proposed by Government
- The importance of having meaningful local voice in decision making
- Ensuring opportunity for mana whenua engagement
- Issues around asset ownership and responsibility under the reform proposal
- Ability to meet changing regulations in the future and concerns with the assumptions the Government's proposal is modelled on