Kāpiti mayor K Gurunathan is "very concerned" for local ratepayers after the Government's all-in approach forcing councils to amalgamate water assets into the control of four multi-regional authorities.
The Government also dropped an initial plan that would have allowed reluctant councils to opt-out.
Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced the new Three Waters Reform plans which focus on safe, reliable drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services.
The Government would create a working group, legislate in December, start a select committee process early next year, before the four new water entities took responsibility in July 2024.
"We are very concerned that Kāpiti ratepayers will now be forced to prop up those that have failed to act in the best interests of their community," Gurunathan said.
"I stand by my earlier comments that this could end in a turd degree burn for ratepayers.
"Bigger isn't always better and lumping problems together doesn't automatically fix them.
"Kāpiti has a good track record of delivering quality drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater outcomes for our community and we want to ensure that our community's needs continue to be prioritised and met in the face of climate change and unprecedented growth."
Council, like others around the country, had two months to digest and respond when the reform proposal was released.
"It's clear from the timing of this announcement that the Government had already made up its mind before it invited councils around Aotearoa to provide feedback on the proposed model.
"Clearly the quiet voice of reason approach we've taken to date has not served us well.
"The Government has totally ignored our feedback and reneged on its promise to engage meaningfully with the sector and our community."
Gurunathan said while the council wasn't opposed to change, it would have "liked to have been afforded the opportunity to work more constructively with the Government to achieve good outcomes for our community and New Zealand".
"We can only hope that the working group that is to be established with the local government sector, iwi and water industry experts will address many of the issues raised by councils about representation and accountability.
"And in the absence of any authentic grassroots community consultation, we can only hope that the Government will act in good faith and respond appropriately to community feedback received through the select committee process."
Mahuta was unrepentant about the decision to force councils across the country into the Three Waters Reform programme, stating it was needed after decades of underinvestment by councils in water.
"We need to do something that will change the way we invest and provide water services so that every community across the whole country can benefit.
"The status quo is no longer an option and I think the sector has recognised that as well.
"We can't keep turning away from issues that mean future generations have to bear the costs — that's why we have to do something now — it is urgent and it must change."
Mahuta said she had worked with the sector for four years and the "case for change is strong".
"Approximately 30 models were considered but none of them delivered the range of benefits that we're proposing in these reforms.
"No one council can fix the scale of the challenge by themselves and neither can they ignore the substantial benefits that this reform brings.
"To highlight this point, 64 per cent of councils don't have water revenues to meet the full costs of running water services and assets.
"Ultimately the changes I propose will deliver for ratepayers which is a key consideration."
Mahuta said the move to a nationwide model would "benefit every community".
"This is an all-in approach that will require legislation and it will require every council to be part of a quantum shift in the way that water services are delivered."
She said the four regional authorities would "have the balance sheet capacity to raise the level of investment required to fund water infrastructure and capacity for the next 30 years and beyond".