Five years on from the campylobacter crisis, Havelock North woman Kerry Mackintosh is still suffering.
But she says the Government's Three Waters reforms that were sparked by the event will be a "complete disaster" too.
Reform of the country's drinking, storm and wastewater services was announced last year following the results of an inquiry into the Havelock North water crisis in 2016 when residents became ill with campylobacteriosis.
The outbreak is believed to have affected 5500 of the town's 14,000 residents, leading to the hospitalisation of 45 and the deaths of four people.
Mackintosh was admitted to Hawke's Bay Hospital with Guillain-Barre syndrome, before suffering from reactive arthritis as a result of the outbreak.
"It's permanent," she said. "I will always have weak legs."
The Government this week announced it will proceed with plans to take over management of councils' Three Waters assets despite opposition from many councils.
Under the current proposal, responsibility for Hawke's Bay services 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.
Mackintosh said she disagreed with this setup and the Government's decision to proceed, adding it felt like a "dictatorship".
"It's a dangerous way for a Government to operate. At the very least there should be a referendum."
She felt Hasting District Council had done a "great job" in response to the 2016 event, citing recent mapping of the aquifer as an example of efforts undertaken to better understand our water resources.
"Generally it's been done very well putting it right and it's still ongoing.
"[This option] completely takes away local involvement in the assets that we've built up.
"I think it would be a backwards move to have central government controlling local assets."
Water assets were the "lifeblood of local communities" and she didn't want these to be controlled by an unelected panel of board members in Wellington.
"[Currently] we have a local representative that we can approach directly.
"When you have a clunky set-up of four entities for the entire country, it just won't work."
Mackintosh was also unhappy with how the Government had gone about the reforms, saying she felt "offended" by TV ads depicting the issue as relating to "slimy" water coming out of the shower.
"To have the Government put out something like that to the public in order to sell their idea that these four entities can manage these services better than the local councils is a nonsense."
Fellow Havelock North resident Rachael Campbell also became sick and was hospitalised several times during the 2016 crisis, adding "it was a really horrible time".
Of the reforms, she said it was good news the services were being overhauled.
Though she didn't have trust in the council anymore, she understood frustrations about them wanting to be involved and didn't think they should be completely removed from decision-making.
Campbell was also concerned the Government had "made its mind up" and wasn't interested in listening to public feedback.
It was not clear how the infrastructure would be managed or the costs distributed.
"I think there should be more discussion."
She also wanted wider discussions about water collection and storage included as part of this, and was supportive of a referendum exploring the reforms.
HAVELOCK NORTH: THE WORD ON THE STREET
Bunty Crawford, of Hastings, didn't get sick during the outbreak but was a lot busier at Gillmours Pharmacy in Havelock North where she worked because of it.
She said she didn't know a lot about the reforms but was happy with the current delivery model through Hastings District Council.
Rosey Craig-Kassem, of Havelock North, said the outbreak was a "shocking experience".
"I still don't drink the tap water.
"I think it's really important we have good drinking water."
She wasn't happy with the current provisions.
Walter Cooper, of Havelock North, felt lucky to not have become sick as he was down in Wellington during the outbreak.
While he supported better water, he said he didn't want chlorination.