Three waters reform seems to be heading up a creek and it needs to find a paddle.
The Government's proposed overhaul would see the responsibility - and debt - for water, stormwater and wastewater assets taken off New Zealand's 67 councils and put in the hands of four big entities, each spanning multiple regions and owned by their communities.
It claims this will result in more efficient and future-proofed operations that will save ratepayers money, as well as being better for health and the environment.
But many councils appear to be sceptical at best and hostile at worst.
Some report they are struggling to field questions from their communities about how it will all work due to a lack of detail from central government.
And in spite of a glossy advertising campaign attempting to sell the public on the reform, the initial reaction from Joe Ratepayer also appears to be skewing negative.
The advertising is accompanied by what amounts to a four-page website that devotes roughly equal space to cutesy animations of good and bad water scenes, as it does to actual information about the reforms.
Any person reasonably wanting to know more about how it will all work and affect them, is linked off the Department of Internal Affairs - in my view, one of the least user-friendly corners of the vast govt.nz presence and containing plenty of lengthy documents.
On October 1, the reform programme will reach the end of a two-month period for councils and iwi to give feedback on a proposed model of how the entities would be governed.
The department advised that this period "does not trigger the need for formal consultation". In other words, councils need not seek views from people in the community who drink the water, deal with the floods and pay for the poo pipes.
Councils have taken different approaches to this period. Tauranga City Council invited community feedback and received what commission chairwoman Anne Tolley called a "groundswell of worry and concern" - as well as calls for a referendum.
Rotorua Lakes Council kept its discussions behind closed doors until it came to an initial position, which it released publicly on Thursday. It said it would most likely consult the community after the Government reviews and refines its proposal.
Three waters reform is a huge undertaking and it does have merit, particularly around the benefits of scale.
Increasingly, however, it appears the work is not being well understood and that misinformation, confusion and resentment are thriving in the gaps.
The proposal seems to be stuck in a sort of contradictory existence where it is viewed as both overly complicated and yet also lacking in detail.
If the information rollout to date is any reflection of how these entities might operate, we can see why one of the concerns raised repeatedly is how much say local people will have in the future about their water services and infrastructure.
So far, they've had very little.