A. Mackintosh (AECOM, Australia), G. Cooper (AECOM, New Zealand)
Delivering health and wellbeing benefits to the community and the environment is the main objective of the Three Waters Reform Programme. Maintaining focus on these benefits amid the dual challenges of transition and transformation will be fundamental to the success of the reform and will underpin the Water Service Entities’ (WSEs’) ongoing social license to operate; the customer’s willingness to pay will be directly linked to the perceived benefits being delivered by each WSE. Drawing on experience gained from providing programme management services to United Kingdom and Australian water companies, the authors will describe how programme management techniques can be adopted to optimise benefit realisation (including broader outcomes, secondary benefits, etc.) when operating in a regulatory compliance-focused environment. The paper compares the different approaches adopted by successful water companies, with a particular focus on the outcomes and benefits frameworks used in various international jurisdictions - including the United Nations Sustainability Goals Framework, and Six Capital Framework - with the Four Capitals approach that forms part of New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework, to determine which approach is most likely to deliver on the objectives of water reform. The paper draws on the experience (successes and failures) of Scottish Water who recently converted to a Net Zero framework approach in favour of the prevailing United Nations Sustainability Goals Framework approach.