New Zealand National Water Survey

The first National Water Survey is aimed at helping councils and water utilities better understand their customers and provide valuable information to help build customer relationships.

We are asking all water service providers to get behind the survey and help promote it on their websites, through newsletters to customers and in water and rates bills. Water New Zealand will provide marketing material to assist with promotion and will promote the survey through media and social medial channels.

In New Zealand, as well as internationally, there are many factors that are placing increasing pressure on every aspect of the water industry as it grapples with aging infrastructure and increasing urbanisation. There has also been extensive media coverage over the past year on issues ranging from water quality in Havelock North, droughts, infrastructure capacity, investment to meet growth demands and the environment.

Understanding the attitudes, priorities and perceptions of consumers is critical to developing a comprehensive and robust sustainable water policy for New Zealand. As a means of achieving this, Water New Zealand is undertaking a national survey that will engage with a diverse cross section of society and gather data and opinions on a number of water related topics. The survey will provide unique insight into what New Zealanders think about water use, customer service, water quality, price and payment, and what is important for the future of water.

Ultimately, the exercise will aim to encourage more conversations around water and raise the importance of water to all New Zealanders.

The survey will launch at the beginning of May and run for six weeks. Findings will be presented at the Water New Zealand Conference in Hamilton this coming September. For more information contact John Pfahlert – or go here to see our FAQs.

The Project

The project is being managed and led by Water New Zealand’s newly-formed Customer Value Special Interest Group. The actual project is being overseen by the following committee members:

Membership consists of:

John Pfahlert | Water New Zealand

Matthew Telfer | Watercare

Nikki Nelson | Auckland Council

Adrian de Laborde | Hauraki District Council

Ramesh Sharma | Taupo District Council

Steve Burton | Tauranga City Council

Cathy Davidson | Tauranga City Council

Tim Harty | Waikato District Council

Alexander van Paassen | Wellington Water

Jo Bryan | Wellington Water

Tomasz Krawczyk | Whakatane District Council

Project Understanding

We have engaged an international multi-disciplinary consultant, Arup, to conduct the survey. Arup has led a number of similar surveys, including the 2015 and 2016 Australian Water Outlook Surveys.

The New Zealand survey will enable Water New Zealand and its’ partners to work with the water sector and community nationally to ensure the alignment of interests and government policy to drive a sustainable water future.

The survey’s key areas of focus include:

Water use and efficiency:

Aims to understand customers’ knowledge of their water source and attitude towards the efficient use of water.

Customer service:

We would like to understand customer’s awareness of who provides their water, views on the quality of service they receive, and preferences regarding communication.

Price of Water

Are customers aware of how their water services are charged, what they are paying for, how much they currently pay, if they believe that this represents value for money, and if the cost of water influences usage.

Water quality

Gauging the level of trust in water supply, customer’s understanding of water quality and treatment, and perception of whether or not treatment is adequate.

The future of water

Aiming to understand customer perception around water issues, including water shortages and water quality; confidence in their water provider to meets future needs; and the future governance of water supply.


Gauging customers’ understanding of stormwater services, who provides them, who pays for them, and attitudes towards flooding and the impact on the environment.

Arup project team

The team combines members from Arup’s Auckland water team and staff who were involved in the 2015 and 2016 Australian Water Outlook Surveys. Key staff are:

Daniel Lambert - Project Director

Daniel is Arup’s Australasia Water and Urban Renewal Business Leade . As Project Director Daniel is overseeing the delivery of the project ensuring that it is being delivered to Waters New Zealand’s expectations. Daniel also led the Australian surveys.

James Peveril - Project Manager

James is a civil engineer based in Arup’s Auckland office. As Project Manager, James is the day to day point of contact, co-ordinating all works and deliverables,. James is an experienced water engineer, who has delivered three waters projects for various Councils and Utilities in New Zealand, Fiji and the UK.

Water New Zealand Contact – CEO John Pfahlert