The NRSBU was established in July 2000, replacing the former Nelson Regional Sewerage Authority established in the 1970s, and the first business plan was written for the 2001/02 financial year. The 2004/05 business plan identified the need for a strategic review of the NRSBU, following local body elections in 2004 and the appointment of a new Board. The outcomes of the workshop, held with local authority representatives of the Board on 26 January 2005, were used to determine the direction of the NRSBU for the subsequent three years.
In April 2008 a strategic planning workshop was facilitated by Graeme Nahkies, of Boardworks, for members of the NRSBU Board and staff. The aim of the workshop was to provide the Board with governance training and to brainstorm issues to set the strategic direction of the NRSBU. A further outcome of the workshop was the development of a Board Charter. The Strategic Plan 2009 – 2012, attached as Appendix A has been produced since the workshop and gives direction to the NRSBU until 2012.